Isadore

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Everything posted by Isadore

  1. After the Siege, Shokkra asks Dora if they can talk in private. With Shokkra in a wheelchair and Dora weak but on her feet, they journey outside of the infirmary tent. Uneven terrain adds an element of difficulty of navigating the chair. The wheels sink into the mud if Dora isn't constantly pushing, so she keeps going until she's able to get Shokkra on the path around the port where the dirt is packed tight. The port is still broken, but the moon hangs high anyway. Wheels squeak as Dora urges them along, near the southeast corner where they have a bay for dry docking. "Fresh air is nice, right?" "Yeah." Shokkra lets out a heavy breath, her eyes moving up and focusing on the stars. "Better than stuffy, sick air." She tries not to let the fact she's being pushed around in a wheelchair bother her. She's never relied on anyone else for something as simple as movement before. It takes a bite out of the courage she's mustered. "The harbor was undamaged right?" Shokkra asks, her eyes turning to the mud and puddles on the ground. "It took some hits, but we have carpenters already on it. Some of the Solsmite cousin crew too." When they reach the inlet, it's clear that it avoided the worst of the attacks. One piece of the port that didn't get pummeled by fel meteors; small victories. Dora bounces once on her toes, winces, and stops the chair just on a hilly knoll overlooking the sea near the dry dock station. "What did you need to talk about so badly that it couldn't wait?" "I did wait." Shokkra snaps, harsher than she meant. "I told you I needed to talk with you after the fight, and this is that." Her mostly undamaged hand crosses over to rub her other arm, taking a more closed position. She shakes some hair from her face, thinking. "I didn't dye my hair. So that's... one thing." Looking from the grass down to the sand and up to the water, she wonders how Orgrimmar must have looked after the siege, and how the ocean must have been red, like the river. "There's a lot, I guess." The grass crunches underneath flimsy thin slippers, tickling at Dora's ankles. She squats down in front of Shokkra, bracing her palms on her knees. "I'm listening," Dora tells her. "So talk." Shokkra takes a deep breath, clearing her throat out of nervousness. Her gaze turns to Dora, uncertain and wary. "So... I've talked to a lot of people. Actually not a lot. Four, I think. Because they ask what my problem is, or shit like that. Worried about me, maybe." She squeezes her own arm, supporting herself. "And every time, it always ends with 'talk to Dora'. But, over the past few months, ever since... the storm, we haven't seen each other much. So when I did get to see you, I just buried whatever else. Because when we were together, I wanted to be happy. I wanted you to be happy. I wanted to have that one safe harbor in everything going on, convince myself everything wasn't going to shit. That there was still a shred of- of summer, to hold onto." Green eyes, glowing like flameflies in the night, watch Shokkra with unerring focus. She waits for more, her body giving a small shiver as a breeze flies through carrying the smell of sulfur and salt. "So I kept burying and hiding and... lying to keep it that way." Was it lying to hide everything over those months? It felt like it. It felt like shit. "Even though everyone kept telling me to talk to you and- and even me telling them that I would, I didn't. I was scared. I still am. I'm scared of losing you to all my bullshit and problems. When we weren't talking after the storm, it hurt. It hurt so much to think that I had ruined the best thing I ever had with one night of my bullshit." Shokkra shifts her eyes back to the water, her voice shaking. "And- and with all the shit going on. The fucking hallucinations, the nightmares, the overwhelming stress and the fucking death all always around..." Shokkra bites into her lower lip. "It was summer when you told me you needed time to figure out what I meant to you." Her voice calms somewhat, looking to Dora, blatant fear evident. "Do you know, yet?" Silence. In the time Shokkra looked towards the bay and back, Dora's stare fell to the floor, thin slits of green casting the color of jade on her cheeks and touching the ends of her messy bangs. The curve of her hunched back speaks of vulnerability. Her steadiness on wounded feet mark her courage. She doesn't move, just gazes with narrowed eyes at the dirt. Her pink mouth, chapped and ripped in the middle, cuts from cheek to cheek in a severe line. Still as stone, without breath to give her the mimicry of life. A gargoyle of a figure set posed in thoughtful determination. "I do," Dora uttered. Shokkra's heart beat at the pace of a war drum charging into battle. Every broken bone and and cut and scrape felt like they were on fire, scorching through her body. She was so weak, so unprotected and undefendable. The robe felt constricting and closed, like a prison cell, holding her tight but protecting nothing. She felt the chilling cut of winter and the suffocating sea air blocking her lungs. She couldn't do anything if she tried. She couldn't run, or fight. She wasn't strong. "And?" Dora meets her eyes then. "I can't return your feelings. I love you, consider one of-" she pauses. Forces breath through her body. "- my closest friends. But I can't give more than that. I'm sorry." Shokkra was ready. She had steadied herself over every possible way the conversation could go. She had lain awake for hours at night, thinking, talking to herself, preparing herself. But none of it mattered. It felt like very bone shattered again, every cut had torn through her, every burn still alight. Her heart must have been shattered for how it felt. "W-" She could barely manage to speak. Tears burst from her eyes, running down her scar and onto her chest. "Fuck." Sobs destroyed whatever strength she had left. She was weak. She was always weak. She was broken and an idiot and nothing would change that. Shokkra wasn't an elegant cryer. She cried with the same kind of passion that characterized her fighting, her raging, her existing. Instead of sharing in it, or doing much of anything at all, Dora sat stone still and watched. Tears soaked into the bandages in pitter patter motions like raindrops on her front. The trees, turned to ashy charcoal from the wreckage, look skeletal from a distance like rooted corpses. The path cooled the soles of Dora’s shoes, heat leaking from her toes until she went numb. The ocean at her right lapped against the shoreline, like any other night. Why would Dora? Why would anyone? Shokkra was broken. Her sobs continued, her ribs felt like they were breaking again, curling over in her arms. Time seemed to stop. She couldn't tell how long she stayed like that. Once her sobs started to quiet, and throat was raw, she sniffled. "Dora-" She tried to calm herself, slowed her breaths. "That doesn't... it doesn't change how I feel. And it shouldn't change how- how we are." Tears run down her scar like a river through a canyon, making its mark on her features. "I told you before." She rubs her face slowly, trying to scrub off the pain. "I'm not giving up the best thing I ever had for anything. Your love... and friendship is the most important thing in the world to me." Her face twists into a paining silent plea. "And I need help." Dora didn't know how to mend a broken heart. She tends to hold on to them too tightly, surprised when they shatter. She collects shards of different cuts and sizes, from different people. When the cuts heal, she tries to pick at the callouses that they leave behind. She's hurt her friends, but most of them haven't abandoned her for her mistakes yet. She'd been terrified of Shokkra's unpredictability. But then, she should have known better. Shokkra is one of the most loyal people she's ever known in her life. She takes the hem of her shirt and lifts it up to wipe at the tears that have traveled a messy line down Shokkra's chin. "Whatever you need," Dora declared, soft. "Just tell me." Shokkra folds her broken arm across her stomach, holding it with her other. She winces, the pain is so fresh. When a hand is lifted up to her face, wiping at her tears, she nearly crumples into it, her broken form aching for affection. It takes a few moments, for her to calm her breathing, to get through the rest. Dora hasn't left yet. Maybe she won't. Please don't go. "I think I'm broken, inside." She mutters, her voice straining. "I'm scared of so much, of the future and how I'm going to end up. I'm terrified that... my mom screwed up so badly with just who I'm attracted to and I keep thinking that if she got that so, so wrong, maybe she got everything else wrong too. Maybe that's why I don't work outside the battlefield. Maybe that's why my hair turned white and I keep seeing things that aren't there, that I know aren't there but I can smell and hear and feel them like they were." She reaches up to hold the pendant on her neck, only to realize it's not there. Her hand clenches around nothing. "Maybe that's why I feel like dying." "I think you're Shokkra Deathrage, goddamn maw of the beast," Dora reminds her, making a swipe against Shokkra's scarred cheek. When the fabric falls against her belly, it sticks with moisture. Soaked through with tears. She takes Shokkra's hands as she did in the infirmary, crouched down again and speaking low. "Pretty sure that in all the time I've known you, you've done exactly what you wanted to do regardless of what other people think. You- you have values that you care about, otherwise you wouldn't Commissar of Sanctuary. And yeah, you're good in battle, but that's not all you are." "Isn't it?" Dora's words don't look as if they inspired much, or anything. "I treat the oaths like a joke. The smallest shit sets me off. Nobody in Sanctuary trusts me or likes me except for Juli. Even the ones that say they do lie, or leave, or die. Maybe it's because they see what I am. A broken soldier. Or a monster." She scratches at her chest where the shell casing would rest, clawing at it. She didn't lose it. She couldn't have lost it. "Would you still be here if you knew what I've done? If you knew more about what Garrosh did, or why the world thinks what it does about the Kor'kron? The things I did on orders, on instinct, or because I could?" "Alright," Dora concedes, looking directly at where Shokkra gropes for something that isn't there, "okay. Let me get through this cleanup. Let me make sure my people are safe. Then, after that, we're gonna sit in a bar and you're gonna either tell me everything that you've done so that you can believe me when I say you're my friend, or we're just gonna drink and be thankful we're alive. I don't care which. But right here and right now I need you to believe that I'm not abandoning you. Okay?" Shokkra needed to find it. She couldn't have lost it. She couldn't have. It had to be around. It had to be somewhere. What if it fell off in the fight? Maybe the doctors took it off when they healed her. She had to find it. Shokkra bites into her lip, hard, and closes her eyes. She shouldn't have brought any of it up. She should have stayed quiet. Dora couldn't deal with all her bullshit right now. Dora would be better off with her dead. "Where the fuck is it?" She whispers hoarsely, just loud enough that Dora might hear. Then she nods, opening her eyes. "Okay." Dora’s eyes widen, realization dawning. "Shokkra, stop looking for something that isn't there and listen to me," Dora seethes, taking Shokkra's face in her hands. "Listen. Stop calling my friend a monster. Stop calling my friend broken. Stop insulting this person that I care about. I'll make you a thousand fucking necklaces if you just realize for a goddamn minute that I wasn't just giving you lip service. I love you, you idiot. I was about to keel over sitting at your bedside thinking you'd never wake up again." Ragged breaths, her voice gone hoarse. Shokkra breathes. Looking into Dora's eyes, she sees all the anger there, and the pain. She cares. She always does. Stupid. So fucking stupid. Shokkra moves her forehead to Dora's, closing her eyes. "Gods I miss the summer." She manages, breathing out. Her hand drops back to her lap, scratch marks fading on her chest. "Okay." She takes a breath. "Okay." Shokkra's forehead feels feverish against Dora. The sweat of the orcess’ brow clings to Dora's skin. They breathe together. "Summer was good. We can make next summer better." Dora’s grip slips away, with her drawing back to resume her squat. Shokkra nods, glad to have made the physical connection. "Okay." Shokkra adds once more. "I love you, Dora." She says, the same emotion and intensity she'd had ever since her hunt ended plain in her voice. She might hurt a lot of the time, hate the world, hate herself. But she felt good, now. Dora smiles, as artless as ever. She feels dirt creep into her thin shoes. Her shirt has a stain from where she wiped tears, discolored. Moonlight and her slow slip into recovery make her pale and tired looking. Maybe that's why her eyes seem so much brighter in comparison."I love you too, Shokk." She stands to survey their position. The chill starts to settle in her fatigued muscles, making her dream of a warm bed. "Ready to head back?" "Yeah." Shokkra nods, taking another long look at the ocean. Her lungs feel clearer, and her robe less constricting. "Let's go."
  2. “So, it’s been a while. A lot has happened since I last put in an audio log...too much to sift through really. Day five hundred and thirty two of my exile.” “I haven’t kept up with this thing...it’s been a hundred and ninety nine days since my last entry. Gosh, maybe I should have waited until tomorrow! But...there’s something kind of interesting about a number that’s so close to a completion of a set. It’s got potential, right?” “...uhm. Okay. So! Let’s see...I guess, since then, we’ve been working non-stop on taking Lazhio down. I led a few more missions. Found Vyzelok’s old house abandoned out in Stranglethorn with a bunker and a bunch of cool artifacts from all the different schools of magic. There was even a talking head! Phyruss and I went on that mission together. We weren’t alone, though.” “Morinth was there, or some approximation of her. She had Vyzelok’s reconstructed corpse under her control. I fought her...the details are a little fuzzy...but in the end she escaped and Vyzelok was pinned to the wall with Phyruss’ runesabers. We learned what Lazhio plans to do with the stones.” “Then we cut Vyzelok’s throat. Phy’s hand was on mine when I ripped the blade through the skin. Phyruss never lets me carry my burdens alone if he can help it.” “...but...so we got the stone! We were one step closer to a plan! Woo!” “...theeeeen Uncle Cobrak and Faelenor had to go and get kidnapped, and Amalyn is in the infirmary recovering. Sooo...that’s the boss gone. Second in command gone. According to Uncle’s wishes, that puts me in charge of Borrowed Time.” “I’ve been interim leader of Borrowed Time for a while now. A few weeks, at least. I’ve held my first meeting in the war room...I’ve been delegating tasks to as many trusted hands as I get. Thankfully, I haven’t had any shortage of those. Though uh, that’s also causing some problems.” “So many people from Sanctuary are in our walls. I know it’s causing...uhm...a lot of tension. It’s like in the books my dad made me read about the influence of power. If an entity...like our company, if it- if it relies on outside sources for it’s defenses then it demonstrates weakness to our members. Makes them feel less secure, like- it destroys morale.” “The problem is that we are weak. We’re missing our lead tactician, our commander. If we want them back, our best odds are throwing our lot in with Sanctuary and”- a laugh - “only one or two are here on orders from Julilee. The rest are here for the same reasons that are, like. The cornerstones of what makes up Borrowed Time. Cat has family here! She’s marrying my cousin Kreyen. Well, first cousin once removed, but that’s- uhm, kind of a mouthful so just cousin Krey is fine I think?” “Anyway, so Cat is here compiling numbers for the defenses. Shokkra is here...cause of me and Julilee. I’m her best friend. She acted as my tactician before. Back during the first mission to take down Lazhio at the bordello. She’s the reason I have a plan at all when we go up against Lazhio again.” “Now there’s a woman named Lady Bloodstone who is talking to Ophinnia about fel magic. Plus there’s Zanas...er, Lord Autumnvale? He’s come back, acting as her bodyguard.” “Vathelan has a bodyguard too, because of Shokkra.” Silence. “So. I’ve been trained all my life to be a leader. That part isn’t actually so hard. I can handle the meetings, and I’ve got the trust of my company. There’s a lot of communication...I like listening to their ideas. I’m so lucky to have so many talented people who buoy me up. Without them...without my family, I’m nothing. I’m thankful every. day. that I have so much trust from so many people who are way passionate about their crafts and that they give me the privilege of directing them.” “...but even with all that said...it’s not an easy job. I have to stay firm to my convictions while keeping an open mind to suggestions. It's a balance of being as available as I can while having the confidence to...to stick with the plan. No one needs a teetering leadership, and I don’t want to let them down, not any of them.” Silence. “I’ve not really been sleeping all that much. My brother worries I’m running myself into the ground, and he’s not alone in that concern. Mom is actually popping her head up every once in awhile to tell me to eat, which...yeah, that says a lot. It’s harder...to sleep. When I feel like I can be doing more.” “...my uncle...not my real uncle. The closest...person I have to him. Uhm. His life depends on this working. Shan’do too. I’m making calls that are going to kill people no matter what I choose. This is the least I can do for them. This is all I can do.” “Vathelan came to offer his help. Last I heard from him was months ago. I wasn’t even sure he remembered who I was? But then he was there at the door with this body guard. I mentioned that, right? He has a bodyguard because of Shokkra. Well,” a laugh “he did say he was good at making enemies and Shokkra is pretty easy to rile up. You can get on the wrong side of her in a heartbeat if you don’t get her or why she acts the way she does. I’m sure that there’s stuff even I don’t know about Shokkra that defines her or how she acts.” “Anyway. So Vathelan comes and he offers his help. He quotes something I said to him, like...almost a year ago. That the...uhm. ‘The price of inaction is worse than the price of a mistake.’ Or something like that at least. It was one part of the conversation, but not all of it.” Silence. A ‘glik’ of swallowed water. “He calls me the hero. That I’m all these things he seems certain about...what, like...courageous, I think. Smart, brave, stuff like that. But it’s like he forgot the rest of what I had said being a hero meant to me. That being a hero is about luck and being put in a position to make difficult decisions and then a lot about the aftermath.” “Those people who get the title ‘hero’...they coulda just as easily become the villain, or they are the villain in someone else’s book. It depends on which side you're on or who tells your story. The only person I’m accountable for at the end of the day is myself, and if I’ve done everything I could reasonably do to protect my family, then...I mean, I’m not gonna ask more out of myself.” “...still. When you’re staring down at the end of an unpredictable tunnel and someone is there to tell you that you’re all the things you need to be in order to save everyone that you love and care about...?” Silence. “So. I’m not as big of an idiot as I used to be. I know that there’s this...person who has talked to me maybe a total of three times in the span of a year puts me on a pedestal. Maybe a year ago I wouldn’t have given it much thought, except I’ve had plenty of people in my life put me in that same spot on a high shelf and then I, uhm. I disappoint them when I don’t live up to their standards.” “That’s. You know, okay by me. Now it is, anyway. I figure I have my own standard to live by, and as long as it’s enough to protect my family then I’m alright.” “Looking back on that conversation between Vath and I...Erm. Hmmm. I’ve been trying to tear that apart ‘cause it bothers me so much! I just- uhm, recently learned to read the cues! You know, when someone is interested? Normally by the time I figure it out, it's already too late and the friendship is falling apart or changing and I don’t- uh, have a clue how to handle it. And I don’t think anything that Vath and I said between us made very much sense. Little to no sleep and a day between meals does that, I guess.” “So, okay, I’m improving in reading people at least. Step two is a little more complicated, I guess. Handling that information afterwards, I mean. Be nice if I coulda practice it when the world wasn’t on fire, but that’s okay. I have a chance to try again and talk to him. To...erm. I guess clear up whatever confusion is between us and set some boundaries.” “...the battle is still on the horizon. I still have so many assignments left to go through. New Sanctuary people filtering in, I need to put them somewhere. I’m sure I can talk to Shokkra and figure it out. I’ve talked long enough, I think.” “End log.”
  3. Shokkra, Wondering where you are now. It’s been a few days since your last letter, so I’m guessing you might have reached Shadowmoon by now. I haven’t heard anything from my Legacy Corps crew in a long while. Most of the communication has gone dead. Everyone is off on their own adventures, so I’m left with a hollow base in Broden’ar. I’m considering doing renovations to it. I’m not sure yet; I’ll probably hold off until I hear back from at least Tsuyi, or Mit or Geryal. I took Eiverlyn out to breakfast the other day. We talked for a while, and she’s going to help me out with the vineyard and those old decaying crystals I found in the dirt. I didn’t even have to offer the job- she just leapt at the chance to help. It gets her out of her apartment and into some sunshine. We’re both going to learn how to run a vineyard, apparently! Maybe by the time you get back we’ll have a few casks ready to start aging in storage. Did you know Eiverlyn had two moms? A Blood Knight and a Farstrider. I didn’t even realize something like that was a possibility. Sorry, I don’t have anymore cookies or anything. Phy’s been dealing with a lot of his own problems lately and we haven’t had time for baking lessons. I have jerky though, and that’s probably better for you anyway. Dora
  4. Shokkra, So I have to be the one to tell mom that the old arcane system used to provide water to the vineyards has actually over watered the soil. We’d have to get maybe a shaman out here or someone who knows anything about elemental control and check for diseases and help with the drowned earth before I can put a shovel into this thing. And get rid of all these frost crystals that were buried under the rot. It’s affected the magic and now we’re got a whole host of problems that I don’t know jack about. You want a sapper-grade explosive capsule that can take out an entire fortification wall, no problem. Dealing with mutated magical crystals? This is work for Tao Zhu, or someone with the right knowledge base. At least this is way more interesting of a challenge than I thought it would be! I went to go take care of your plants, by the way. I set up a prototype system of what I want to implement in mom’s vineyards, so at least I have a place to test in the meanwhile. I spoke with the Commander about it. There is an abandoned start to a sentence , scribbled out. I really see why you respect her. She’s not much older than me, but she’s so wise. We have a really different style of leadership, and I appreciate what I can learn from her. She gave me some advice. I don’t know if it is relevant to you, but it’s helped me more than I think Commander Julilee can understand. She said it’s easy to question yourself after realizing you were wrong when you thought you had no reason to suspect you were. You lose confidence in yourself, in your ability to make decisions. But, she said, being too afraid to make decisions will only lead to grief. Start small and make yourself decide. Your confidence will return. Your confidence will return. It was the conviction in the way she said it that made me believe with complete certainty that she experienced something just like what I’m going through right now. It was such a relief to see the path in front of me again when it felt like I’d come up against a wall. She gave me a direction forward, steps that are measurable. Already I feel a lot stronger for the advice. Determination can get you through more than you could ever suspect, but I should have known that! Hah! I’m just glad the Commander could help me find my footing again. I don’t know how I’m going to repay her, but I’m confident that the opportunity will present itself and that I will be there to answer the call. Speaking of people being lost, Phyruss is having a rough time. He’d been a little storm cloud lately. I thought he was just being cranky at first, but then I made him sit down and talk with me. He and Saralis are taking a break. He was trying to keep it from me because he was worried about bumming me out. Breakups. He asked me if I was okay. I remember I was talking to Shaelie not too long ago, a few days after the Dalaran mission. She was worried, asking me if something was going on or wrong with me. I told her about what happened with me and Nok, that it affected my focus on the assignment on Lazhio and that’s why I’ve been out of it lately. She smiled and looked a little relieved, glad that it wasn’t anything more world-shattering than a break up but she said she knows how that is. It can be a real kick in the gut. But it did help a little with perspective. I have an obligation to my team, and to my company. To the people of the Fiend’s Den, who need help and supplies to get them back on their feet again. I heard that Coldstar is handling a lot of the relief initiative, which is great. I’ll be heading back to the port to be debriefed on our next move. They give me a reason to fight. I’ll take what I learned from that attempt in Dalaran and move forward. The operation in the bordello wouldn’t have gone half as smooth without you acting as my tactician. With you gone, I’m starting to realize just how much I rely on you. Scribbled out fragments of words, unreadable. I sent you double-chocolate brownie cookies this time, per Isa’s insistence. She hasn’t reached that point in her life yet where she pukes an entire cake’s worth of chocolate before she’s sick for almost a week, so I’ll let her enjoy it even though just the smell makes me gag. I made extra for you to share with your crew. Hope I can spread a little bit more peace in the form of dubious baked goods. Love, Dora PS: I showed Isa that picture of us that September drew. She strapped pillows around her arms so that she could look as muscled and huge as my friend in the picture. I made a batch of cookies just for her.
  5. Shokkra, There are three acolytes here from the Seminary of the Sunflare working on the corrupted acreage. One of them has strong opinions about the Light, and he has some sort of authority over the other two. This morning, there was this big metal tank-looking vehicle that drives up to the front gates. It kind of looked like a big armored wagon, or a giant metal box rolling on wheels as tall as me. So the acolytes are out on the patio having breakfast when this giant monster of a machine rolls in. They all set their breakfast down to watch. Then from out of the cockpit of this machine hops out goblins in full-body suits like ants climbing out of an ant hill. So the acolytes get curious and start pretending to work, heading out on the grass and throwing half-hearted consecration spells. It was like watching a little gaggle of ducks slowly make their way over. Eventually they get within a few feet of the truck. The goblins open the door to the back of their metal wagon- then a whole team of them take a crate and dump it in the yard. The crate is covered in labels that read ‘Warning: Fel-Enriched Materials”. Then they start dumping more of these crates on the lawn. The minute the first one hits the ground the acolytes scatter and look SO CONFUSED, fluttering back to the main house with their robes billowing behind them like frightened little ducklings. I explained to them why I have bits of fel reaver on my lawn to reassure them, but it was just funny to watch their confusion. So thanks for that; I laughed! You’ve never mentioned your mom before! A Greatmother! I’d love to spend time with her and talk about the ceremony. Maybe she could teach me some of the songs? I don’t know- I just know I’d really like to learn more about her and meet her. I’m glad that you have a bigger team, and potentially more healers. You know, for a long time I actually dreamed of becoming a Paladin? When I trained swordsmanship with my dad, I’d pretend that I could infuse Light into my sword, that I had the blessing of the Sunwell at my back. At that point, I was just starting to get interested in the culture of my origins. It’s probably the most traditionally Sin’dorei thing I’ve ever done, actually! But I appreciate the skills that have been handed down to me, and the rifle along with it. It’s one of the greatest gifts that I’ve ever been given, and I have Uncle Cobrak to thank for that. The first time I lost him, I made a promise to never take what he gave me for granted. I think you’d make a badass Paladin. You’d still stomp on things, but now you’d get to burn them with holy fire at the same time. I think you have enough passion to wield the Light to great effect. Be awesome to watch. A different kind of awesome, you know? You could even come up with cool things to say as you smite your foes like “Know the taste of blessed steel, you sons a bitches!” Or I’ve been hanging around Phyruss too much now. If you want to just send him a letter, I think he’d appreciate it. He could have something physical to look back on; proof of your sincerity, or something like that. He’s not grooming me for anything, I promise- he’s a fantastic cook and I think this is his way of spending time with me in a way that is slightly more relaxed than training and duking it out over water delivery system implementation. We tried baking today, which would have turned out great if I hadn’t mixed up the sugar and salt containers! But the second batch came out much better. I’ll send you some and you can tell me what you think. They’re cinnamon with goldenbark apple pieces in them. I’ll also send some dried sausage, because I at least KNOW how to make that. Isa would volunteer to help make the scene as gorey as possible. Remember how I told you that the manor, while pretty safe, had a lot of the surrounding land scarred by the undead? My very first obsession was zombies. I used to draw doodles of skeletons and guts all the time. I was sort of a morbid kid. I almost crossed the barrier mom set up when I was about five to try and touch one of the ghouls that was wandering up to the property. My mom (the one from my timeline) loved to tell that story when she could. I think I accidentally summoned Isa. I can hear her banging on my bedroom door. I guess she couldn’t find Phyruss this morning- she likes making him miserable almost as much as I do. Or maybe she wants backup to go pester him. You send me fel reaver parts, I send you dried sausage and cookies. I think that’s a fair trade. Love, Dora Arath’dorei PS. I don’t want to know anything about the Commander’s beautiful blooming flower, but I want to ask now just to see if her expression changes. I’ll report my findings in my next letter.
  6. Shokkra, I lived in a manor for the first eight years of my life. But the estate property sits sort of on the boundaries where a lot of the ground is still rotted from the Fall. Mom had some sort of system up to ward away as much undead as possible, but I remember that the manor was always under some sort of construction. Yes there were maids; I never payed attention to their outfits, so I can’t tell you about their alleged cuteness. I’ll take a picture when the explosion happens and send it your way, how about that? Hopefully Phyruss will be there and I can catch his expression when it’s happening. I can’t believe you made nice with my mom. She said she appreciates anyone with good taste in literature, which I think means she likes you. I really, really want to know how you pulled that one off, but I also think I’m afraid of the answer so for Light’s sake, don’t tell me. Also, I feel like I should add that you shouldn’t be drunk while operating heavy machinery (LIKE A FEL REAVER) but your eyes are probably glossing over this part now so I’ll just cross my fingers. If you send me fel reaver bits, I’m going to turn them into metalwork sculptures for the estate gardens. I’ll even make little plaques that acknowledge you as a source for the materials. That wasn’t when we first met, though I remember that night with the plum wine pretty well. We actually met earlier, still in a tavern though. World’s End Tavern, in Outlands. I was against the bar. You made fun of me because I dated a dragon, and I think I was a little drunk at that point because I thought it was just the funniest thing to talk about my ex dragon boyfriend. Even writing that down felt ridiculous. I agreed with you almost instantly about everything. Those were the strangest three weeks of my life, I think. I almost became a dragon consort or something. Anyway, we talked about that for a while. You swore worse than Uncle Cobrak, which made me laugh. I thought you were cool. Phyruss is here, trying to help me with the irrigation system problem or at least that is what he claims. I bounce ideas off him, then he quibbles with me over semantics and I just sort of want to cover his head with a pail and then throw him in a ditch. But he’s really trying to be helpful, which I appreciate. He keeps me company in the workshop, makes me smile. He’s also decided that I needed to learn how to cook for some reason, which I don’t understand. We’ve tried this before, and I always end up burning everything. But he hasn’t given up on me yet, so that’s heartening! I’ll find time between training and this headache of a project to talk with Eiverlyn. She seems like a really nice girl. She’s affectionate without reservation, like giving me hugs when I don’t expect them. I’ll find a way to get her mind off work somehow, promise. What’s your favorite food? I’m snacking on some leftover pudding and it made me wonder. Hope your mission goes well. Love, Dora Arath’dorei P.S. Do you think the Commander will give me a funny look if I ask about her plants? P.S.S. I MEANT LIKE DIRT OR SOMETHING. It’s not my fault your mind is a filthy place; you interpret things how you want anyway, regardless of how a thought is framed!
  7. Hey Dora Day three. Fuck me right? Ughhhh. So, moving back home eh? Got enough of the mean real world and scurried back to home with your baby bows. Irrigation systems. Fun. Should throw in a slide for little Isa. Also damn woman you lived on a mansion? That is insaaaaane. I bet you had servants. OOH I bet they wore cute little maid outfits. Probably a fuckin’ huge place. Though if anyone could blow it up when designing an irritation system, it’s definitely you. Just be sure to make the inevitable KABOOM as fuckin’ sweet as possible. Throw in some red colouring and make it look like there’s blood spouting from the premises. Hehe. Good you’re spending more time with your, well, relative. She’s pretty cool, even got me a SIGNED COPY OF THE LATEST ROMANCE NOVEL I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR AHHHH. Give her a hug from me. Pretty good book too, saucy stuff. But I’ll refrain from the details for your sake. Okay, uh my stuff. Attacked the Fel Forge today. Surprised a bunch of Warlocks. Stormreaver Clan. Most of ‘em were the felblooded ones, black and brimming with their sick power. I think they were training some new recruits, the last piece of hope for the bastards to survive. Powerful pieces of shit. Low in numbers though. We have about the same amount of people as they did. Killed a couple of ‘em before they retreated through demonic gateways. Can’t pinpoint where they went, but from the scenery we saw we’re guessing the Citadel. They still have a mostly built Fel Reaver here so we moved camp to here for the night. I can see Vol’mar from here. Almost want to run over and grab a beer. But, I gotta help finish assembling this bitch with the eggheads. Plan is to locate where they went to inside the Citadel and bust through the wall with the Reaver. I’ll be piloting. Can’t be much harder than driving a tank right? Whatever we salvage from the sumbitch I’ll have sent to you. Could probably make some cool shit with the remains. Make a good souvenir, half-intact Fel Reaver core. But anyway, Eive sent me some chocolates and a bottle of Pandaren Plum Wine. Reminded me of you, first time we met. We went to that bar at the Shrine and bet who could stuff the most food in their mouth. I won, of course. Sitting here in the glow of the Forge with the Citadel in the distance as we prepare a war machine seems so bleak and ominous, but this fine wine reminding me of drinking away my appetite away with you makes it seem so much easier. With love, -Shokkra Deathrage P.S When you say “sticky substance” I can only think of you doing one thing with that recorder alone in your room and these thoughts are ENTIRELY your fault stupid.
  8. Shokkra, I got your first two letters! I need to save you from yourself and those awful novels. So here is my attempt, though I don’t have anything half as exciting to write as your demon-slaughter fest bonanza. So Phyruss said that I needed to go visit mom. He told me that she basically made him heir to the Arath’dorei Estate and all the responsibility that comes with it. He seemed upset that mom didn’t even approach me about it, but I think she knew I had no interest. Or, at least, I’m not really a proper candidate for that sort of thing at the moment. I did live the first 8 years of my life on those grounds, so a part of me understands that it’s home. It was pretty cool to walk into my old bedroom and see my first bow collection hung up on the wall. I mean, it’s Isa’s collection, so it’s actually in really good shape! Anyway, Phyruss told me that mom needed help restructuring the irrigation system she had in place for the vineyards. I decided now would be a great time to spend a few weeks or so at the Estate. Get my head into other projects and be useful to someone else at the same time! So far all I’ve done is unpack things in the room where I am sleeping and haul a lot of my tools into a spare room that I’m using as a workshop. I might insist on building a separate shed away from the main manor just because I’m a little worried that there will be some casualties to the house. Standard fare when it comes to working with explosives, you know? Not to say that I have anything dangerous in there right now, but who knows about the future. The most dangerous thing in that workspace right now seems to be my recorder. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but it keeps turning on without my influence. I think there must be sticky residue on the switch that is keeping the thing depressed, which means I have to go in and clean it out. Not a big deal, but I need a sterile workspace first. It’s a little weird, being here with mom. The Sinlanna of this timeline and I have never really gotten along. We only share about a decade’s worth of memories between us; we’re strangers trying to figure out how we fit into each other’s lives. I might get into that more in my next letter. For now, I have a few more boxes to unpack. I miss you, stupid. Love, Dora Arath’dorei
  9. Hey, Dora Day two of my demon hunting diaries. Woot. Miss me yet? I definitely don’t miss you because I’m back with my old bad ass military friends who totally kick your elven ass out of the water(just kidding these fuckers are all assholes and you’re my best friend and I love you hugs and kisses booboo). Today we attacked the draenei place(which I still cannot remember the name of) and totally fucked shit up. There were these huge Felguards everywhere and even a few Terrorguards, you know the ones who like shoot demon bolts or whatever? The magical fucks. Anyway yeah those guys and we just murdered a whole ton of ‘em, took down a couple buildings and a staircase with us. Olgoth got the Fel Hound he wanted, got it in a cage next to Fury’s chain who, turns out, loves the taste of demonic draenei! Who would’ve thought eh? We made a pile of the corpses and torched ‘em once Fury had his fill. Another demon site bites the dust right? Didn’t find anything worthy of souvenirs but I’ll keep my eye out. No major injuries except Kodlak thinks he saw a demon’s dick so he might be scarred for life. Anywho, tomorrow we’re gonna hit up the Fel Forge, one of our scouts thinks he saw some shady shit going on. Day after that we’re gonna do some clean up of the Citadel and then move on to the next demonic locale, probably Ashenvale. Let me know if anything cool happens while I’m gone! REMEMBER TO WRITE BACK I CAN ONLY READ SO MUCH ROMANCE NOVEL A DAY AHHHHH. -Love, Shokkra Deathrage
  10. Hey, Dora. Day one of my demon hunting adventures out and about the worlds. I left Dalaran and met up with my friends at Brokenspear in Warspear before heading out to Taanan. We've made camp in the jungle close to the Saberstalkers, figure we wouldn't risk attack from demons this close to the Saberon. Spent most of the day doing recon. Looking for the best places we could hit. First target is the corrupted Draenei Eredar fucks. One of the guys, Olgoth, wants a fel hound for a pet too so that kinda swayed the decision. We've got a healer, don't worry. Old shaman buddy of mine. He can handle any wounds we might get from the demons, except for like, losing limbs and eyes and shit. But like, what are the chances of that happening? Anyway, you should talk to Eive more. Get her out of the workplace and her apartment and out to the beach or the bar or something. Around friends. She really needs it. I think that's like, all I got right now. I'll have some more exciting shit tomorrow hopefully. -Love, Shokkra Deathrage P.S. Water the plants at Sanctuary's place in Dalaran because apparently EVERYONE JUST ASSUMES THEY'RE MAGIC
  11. Beep. Beep. Beep. “...the fel?” Beep. Beep. Flash! “...huh.” The padding of feet. A whirring sound. A click. “Weird.” Tapping. The hollow sound of wood scraping against wood. “...I have NO idea what is wrong with you….” A muffled voice, as if from a far distance. “No, I’m talking to one of my projects. The one that records stuff. It started acting up.” Unintelligible speaking. “Mom, if you wanna talk to me you have to come in here.” Silence. Creaking. “Are you almost finished? It’s nearly time for dinner.” “I have a lot of boxes, mom. It’s gonna take a while before I get it all organized.” “Hmm. It doesn’t have to be tonight that you get everything put away, Dora.” “I-” A sigh. “I realize that. The unpacking helps, though. Keeps my hands busy.” Silence. “...what is that blinking light?” “Oh- it’s that recorder I was just telling you about. I need to take it apart later. It just started recording on it’s own.” “How curious.” Silence. “I’ll leave you to-” “Did you wanna-” Silence. A little laugh. “Uhm. Thanks again for letting me use this room for a temp workshop.” “This is your home, child. If you are in need of more space, we’ll make arrangements.” “Right.” Silence. “I’ll be in the dining room in a few minutes.” “Oh good. The honeyed yogurt won’t go to waste, then.” “What! You’re bribing me to head to the dining room with my favorite dessert?” “Is it working?” “Yes!” “Then I am. I’ll meet you there, Dora.” “Okay mom. Thanks again.” A hum, the sound of breath released after giving something a squeeze, or a hug. Clattering sounds for several minutes, then shuffled steps. The creak of hinges. A door snapping shut.
  12. “Day three hundred thirty three of my exile. Three three three. Is that special? Series of numbers…” Pause. A tapping sound, like fingers drumming against wood. “Shokkra-” A pause. A huff of annoyance, a bark of laughter. “...damnit...” Silence. “...so I went to go help her with Fury. I tried to teach her how to tame him the way that I know, which is to earn an animal’s trust slowly over time. I gave her some ground up firebloom mixed with something extra, kinda like catnip for drakes. I convinced her to take him out of the sewers finally, ‘cause there’s no way there’d be any trust built between them if she kept him locked up somewhere dark and dank. But then he had an adverse reaction to what we fed him, so he went a little wild. She hopped on his back as he flew out of the sewers, with me and Galika tailing after them. He struggled for a while until he finally crashed into the trees. Friggin’ idiot gave me a thumbs up before she slid off his back and fell into a snowbank.” “She told me she’s leaving for a long training mission. She promised to send letters.” “Training. Phy and I had our first training session together with Faelenor and Amalyn. It was a lot of fun, honestly. He had to protect a coin from me while I had to try and shoot it off a dummy. Of course he was really clever about it and chopped up the dummy so that he could move the coin around. Still technically on the dummy...and then he won ‘cause I couldn’t shoot the coin off in time.” “It was a little tense. Phy doesn’t like Faelenor at all, but I guess I get it. Phyruss doesn’t do well with listening to authority, and Faelenor expects complete respect if you’re going to train under him. Otherwise, it’s a waste of his time. I deferred to Faelenor because I feel like he has a lot to teach me and he was kind enough to take me on as a student. And I really wanted...you know, to spend time with Phy. It feels like we don’t do enough together. Team building exercises, I mean. And I think he could use some discipline, honestly. He’s bull-headedness has gotten him into a lot of trouble and he needs to learn some restraint. He’s coming to the lessons to appease me for now, but soon he has to decide to come because he sees the training as worthwhile. Otherwise it’s just a big slap in the face to Faelenor and the time he’s willing to give us. But...I think Phy had fun, so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that they can resolve their differences.” “Uncle assigned me my first team and my first mission under the Borrowed Time banner. We’re supposed to protect the bordello’s new location in Dalaran while Lazhio is running loose. He gave me a handful of people I’ve never worked with before and not a single healer or medic. It’s okay though, because-” A beat. “...gah....BECAUSE. Because Shokkra helped me come up with a plan. She was my tactician. We talked about it while I was walking the streets, getting myself familiar with the faces that pass by outside the bordello. Also I was babysitting Isa’s cat, but that’s- you know, not really important.” “...why didn’t I ask Nok what he thought of the team I was given? I used to go to him for everything.” “...I’ve never heard him yell at me like that before except for when I pull stunts that nearly get me killed. Even then, it’s not like...it wasn’t the same. This wasn’t him yelling at me for being dumb. Or maybe it was.” “And then I yelled back. I felt like I was possessed, like there was just...this angry, ugly thing in my chest and I just- just wanted to lash out. I think I was frustrated? But I don’t...I don’t act that way when I’m frustrated. I can keep my cool. Maybe I was reacting weirdly because I’d never seen Nok act like that towards me. Weird for weird.” “He said it was a Saelyx thing all over again. I’m still trying to understand what that means. But I at least get a part of it. I was never around, and I don’t know why. I was hurting him without even realizing it.” “So now I don’t get to have him at all, cause he- left. Me.” Silence. “I’m...looking for the silver lining. But I just hurt. Maybe later. I’ll find it later.”
  13. Isadore

    Neroxian

    "Nero?" Dora asks, lifting up her welding helmet to assess the interviewer. She smiles. "He was a little off-putting at first, calling my nicknames and being crude...but," she shrugs, "he's so much more than just his blustering. He's a good person that genuinely cares about his brothers and sisters. He's got a lot of patience for them, deep down." Her smile dampens some, eyes falling to the project on her worktable, "He's also suffered a lot of loss. I can't help feeling empathetic towards him." The corner of her mouth upticks in a wry grin. "He's really a lot of fun once you get past the crustiness." With that, she brings the helmet down to cover her face before returning back to work.
  14. “Day three hundred eighteen of my exile.” “...” Silence. “...” A clearing of the throat. “...I went training with Faelenor. He’s a really patient teacher. He’s also the kind of teacher that lets you pay for your mistakes. I appreciate that he lets me mess up. He understands...you know. What I need. I mean, I forgot my trap bag somehow when we went out into the field. I was at a big disadvantage. But he didn’t mock me- he just...taught me what he could with what I had. I’m almost never this sloppy, but...I’m not sure what it is with me right now. I feel like I’m getting sloppier all the time. But this is why I’m training. And training with a member of the Order of Eversong...I mean, that’s pretty cool. More than cool.” “I wonder about magister Vathelan. I haven’t heard or spoken with him in a while. I haven’t seen Tsu, or Rhyze, or Phy in a few weeks.” “...I looked at the logs, trying to figure out where the past days have gone. I keep the journal for a few reasons. One of them is because, as a Time Walker, you wanna keep a count of your days. You need your own personal calendar. There’s no other way to keep track of your hours. The years of the timeline calendar and the years of my body’s existence...none of it will ever match up nicely.” “There’s been time sunk into the school. Time with my projects. I’ve had a lot of freedom to order imports for parts, so I can tinker with stuff. I want the schematic for the wolf Shaelie uses.” Silence. An exhale. “So I looked at the logs. I kept noticing that...there are all these days when I just talk about Shokkra.” Silence. Tapping. “I think Mit tried to explain this to me once. That I tend to latch onto things that interest me until the shiny wears off.” “There’s still so much stuff we’re planning to do, like getting Fury trained and I’m still not sure what is going on with her brother. She needed her stitches taken out, and then she wants us to get matching tattoos.” “She wants Pai to do them. Wings and jaws on our backs. They’re mates now, I think. She said Pai said so, and she’s rolling with it.” More tapping. “We were talking about her eulogy after her stitches. That I’d make sure she’d get a great one, that they’d do her justice.” “There’s a lot of pain that comes with shorter-lived races. I’ve already made as much peace as I can considering that each death is different and hurts just as much as the first one. I know that I’m going to put a lot of them in the ground. Or, at least, the likelihood is a lot higher. I know that. I accept it. They’re still worth loving anyway.” “So. I took out her stitches. It’s dusk out, on the mesa we found in the Barrens. The fire’s giving us the only light around for miles. I was still able to take out the stitches anyway, and clean her up. She reminded me of how short her life is. I think she saw it in my face. The way it hurt. She started crying, and…” Quiet sobbing. It lasts for minutes. There’s a ragged snifle. When she speaks again, her voice is hoarse. “I just hugged her. She-” A cough. “-she messed up her fucking bandage crying.” “I don’t regret- don’t regret having her in my life. I had no idea that when I met her, she’d become so important to me.” Silence. When she speaks again, she’s composed. “It seems like...everything is centered around her right now. It’s all so intense. We’ve had our difference. We’ve fought but we still find ways to reach an agreement. Even when things seem like they’re constantly trying to test us, we’ve managed. Like with my uncle and with Syreena. That stuff between her and my brother. She says she still wants to apologize to him, which- fel, that still means so much to me, that she’d do that. I was there to watch her fight her way out of corners against trolls and drakes.” Her voice goes uneven. “I’ve seen her when the rage hits; she looks so alive when it happens and I’ve seen her looks feminine and vulnerable in her dress. She can be all these things at once; she can be womanly and a fighter and she has these cigars that smell like tar. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her but she cares about me. I’m her best friend, I’ve seen all this stuff that no one else has seen, I’ve seen her fucking fall apart, I’ve seen her look so completely lost and crying and - and- I want her to be happy-” Something clatters, like the sound of several pounds of nuts and bolts hitting a wooden floor. Silence. “...I don’t know what I’m doing.” "I don't know what I'm doing."
  15. <p>HAVE ALL THE FEELS <3</p>

  16. “I feel like the days have been running in a kinda blur lately. I haven’t really been keeping up with this log the way I should. I’m not sure why, beyond the fact that it seems like I’m always busy. I..gotta try harder, I guess.” Exhale. “I’m weirdly tired. Like, I think I could faceplant onto this desk and nap through the whole day. No...can’t...gotta. You know. Do this journal. I’m going to have to go back and edit in the...the markers...right.” “Nero lost one of the hatchlings. He screamed over the body. I could feel his screaming, literally. I was hugging his back, and he just let it all go. It was...you know, not unexpected. I wasn’t about to believe that they would all survive. He took it so hard though. At least I was there. At least...at least I could help him. I took the boys to the workshop. Coaldrin and Slade. They got to hold their new baby sister, Noiria. She’s already a little spitfire, which is exciting. After that...yeah. When I came back, that was when he broke down. I know Coaldrin was suspicious. Now the boys have an idea about how fragile life can be. At least I was there when they learned it. I could help guide them through it and undertand.” “Speaking of..” A yawn. “...speaking of learning, the school is already being built. Nearly done, and I’ve got a full roster of students. Still need to talk to Kex’ti and see if he wants Rylie to participate. I just feel like everyone would benefit from Rylie’s presence. She’d teach them as much as they would teach her. I’ll head out to the Sanctuary base and prod him about it.” “Faelenor offered to handle the reading and writing. He’s been such a huge help lately, really. I feel like I can depend on him for so much, the way I can’t with a lot of others. I love Uncle, but I can’t approach him about some things in my life that are important. Like Shokkra. Faelenor is easier to talk to about stuff like that...and he sort of reminds me of mom, weirdly enough. My mom, my real mom. The Sinlanna of this timeline...I can’t help feeling an obligation to her, and I love her in a weird way that I can’t explain, but it hurts to look at her sometimes because she doesn’t have my mom’s memories. There’s an entire twenty years of interaction missing. So it’s a little less painful to talk to Faelenor and...I dunno. I hate to say look up to him like a parent, but he treats me the way my mom treated me in my timeline. With patience, and lots of love. “He’s gonna teach me a lot of things, he said. Go hunting with me, teach me about diplomacy. I’m really excited, honestly! And he even let me and Shaelie escape the base when I wanted to spend time with her and get to know her without the paranoia of eyes watching our every move. She's under survellince, cause people don't trust her since she's ex-Grim.” “Oh right, Shaelie. So she left Grim and she’s hanging out with us now. She likes my modifications on Galika, so that’s awesome. I instantly liked her. I hope she and I hang out more, but she seems like she has a lot on her plate.” “...crud. I meant to invite her out to the hunt with Shokkra. It might have been helpful to have another ranger out there to take down that damn proto-drake, but we managed alright. Shokkra...I think she had more blood on the outside than on the inside by the time that fight finished. I didn’t do too badly, just some burns and a cut down my back. Wrecked my leather tunic, gonna have to make a new one.” Another yawn, sleepy and long. “So….hmmmm….so yeah. We…....we took down the dragon...gonna teach her...how to tame it….ride it…” “Grizzly hills is pretty at night. Her arms were warm.” Silence. “She’s a Maw. Feldamned Maw. I wanna be something cool. Maybe the Wings, cause I wanna fly. I wanna carry the world on my back and fly on hope. Can I do that? I always believed it before. Never really questioned it. Shouldn’t bother starting now, don’t think.” “I think I can, if I have Shokkra.” A soft mumble. “Stupid orc.”
  17. “Victory! Victory! Determination can see anyone through ANYTHING!” Giggling, uncontainable and bubbly. “Team Arath’dorei! When two siblings like us enter the fight, you’re finished! We’re UNSTOPPABLE!” Another giggle. “I should probably give this celebration a little context, huh?” “So like I mentioned in my last log, Phyruss was being corrupted by the runeblade Sorrow. We needed to find Hope, and fast. We go back to the Plaguelands, where everything started.” “Phyruss and I, we make a good team. Not only do we know each other’s silent cues better than our own, we balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Where one person’s knowledge is limited, we can usually count on the other to be able to fill in the gaps. And Phyruss is a clever elf! Much more clever with the different magic schools than myself, without question. He’d figured out a method of psychometry and rune magic that I’ve never seen before...thinking on it, I bet he doesn’t even know the value of what he’s done.” “He takes up Sorrow into the point of highest traffic in the town...and this part I didn’t really understand. He didn’t bother explaining it to me- we didn’t really have time to stop and chit-chat about his methods, you know?- but he turned the surface of the blade into a mirror. In the reflection? Tarra Shadeweave, that human woman who was the last wielder of the joined pair of runeblades.” “So, this is my theory...I’ll have Phyruss explain to me later to see if I’m right, but here it goes. I think whatever he’d done to his runeblade was able to display the history from a place’s energies. The kind of energy that people leave behind and imprint on a location. He must have realized that she would have crossed the path dozens of times in her life, so starting from the center of town was a good place to start. He might have pulled up the energy of Tarra specifically, watching every moment she crossed this area, right up until she no longer had Hope. He tracked back the history until she had both blades, just before she lost them, and we followed her energy trail from that moment, through the woods and at the foot of the Scarlet ruins.” “We’re not really...the subtle pair. He’s busy watching the image of Tarra teariing- Tarra tearing. Tarratearing tarratearing tarna terning-” A tsk. “- uhm. Ha! Right, where was I? Tarra! So he was following Tarra’s image on his blade, and Ava ‘n I are making rotter heads roll, then finally we’re inside one of the smaller chapels. The blade shows Tarra fighting an undead male. But not really fighting, because the word implies that she was even a challenge for him. She wasn’t- but she was scrappy. She managed to plunge Hope into his back, and Sorrow about to finish him off...then she said his name.” “The last time we were here, in the town, I was looking at Tarra’s family registry. She left behind her parents. But she followed her brother, Beras, who died when Havenshire fell.” “Beras, or at least the animated corpse of him, backhands her into a pillar. She still had Sorrow, and was able to escape. She left the job unfinished. When Phyruss lowered the blade, in front of us was Beras, with Hope still plunged in his back.” “We went in there hoping the advantage of surprise would have been enough to take him down. Ava, my wolf, goes for his ankle. Phyruss sweeps in on the front. I duck behind a pillar to fire. It should have been easy.” “He kicks Ava away like she was a plush toy, all two hundred pounds of her. I haven’t heard her yelp like that in years. Then, when I thought my heart had already bottomed out into my stomach, he grabs Phyruss’ head and slams him into the ground.” “The fight was a blur after that. I just remembered that I wanted to make him pay for what he did to Phy. But that made me careless. I’m thrown onto the floor, Beras’ magic stunning me into place, then suddenly the black ichor from his neck sprays the front of my tunic and Phyruss is standing above him with Sorrow in his hand.” A large inhale, followed with a long, shuddery exhale. “I didn’t know what my worst nightmare was until it was happening in front of me. Phyruss was fighting the call of the blade...it demanded blood. And when he refused to cut me down, it-it forced him to stab himself in the foot. To satiate it.’ “And then...he said my name...and begged me. He begged me to help. My baby brother. He NEVER asks for help, even when he needs it. He’s got too much pride. But he was begging me. It was like being thirteen all over again, watching him cry while he was bleeding and realizing that this little elf I loved so much could bleed and die like everyone else.” “But I realized that I wasn’t useless and thirteen anymore. I knew exactly what to do. So I ran to Beras’ corpse, pulled out Hope.” “I’ve never felt anything like holding hope before. It was light, perfect, like it was always meant to be wielded in my hand. All of my doubts washed away...like there was nothing to be afraid of anymore. I was determined. We fought. This part I don’t remember too clearly either, except for the moment when I lost the blade, when I fell. I lost Hope, in multiple meanings of the word. My brother and the runeblade Sorrow were what stood between me and it’s partner blade.” “Even though I was terrified all over again of losing my brother, it didn’t matter.” “I leapt for it, hefted it up, and aimed for his arm. He pinned me to the floor by shoulder by the tip of Sorrow’s blade.” “If Hope was resolve, Sorrow was...complete despair. I could feel Tarra’s sadness at failing her brother. It felt like mine. For what felt like forever, I was forced to feel all of my insecurities, all my worries. My paranoia. I’ll never be enough to protect Phryuss. He’ll be...I’ll be the reason he dies. My carelessness. I’ll never be enough.” Silence. “But that’s...none of that is true. With Hope, Phyruss was able to recover himself enough to throw the blades away. Then he was crying, really sobbing, and he was holding me. He said...no blade is worth you.” “He..called me his Hope. He. He said…’You always made me want to be a hero.’ ” Silence. “Phyruss isn’t perfect. He’s stubborn, and irrational, and sometimes his dramatic playacts grate on my nerves. But I love him so much.” Another shuddery exhale. “...hah. Hah! But, we DID it! We put Beras to rest, we found Hope, and...I trust Phyruss with the twin blades. He’s earned the right to wield them, after all that.” “So, you’re thinking to yourself ‘gosh, that’s a lot of victory right there Dora!’ and I would respond ‘why yes, imaginary audience, it IS a lot of victory! BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!’ ” “Part of why I wanted to help Phyruss with all this stuff in the first place was to better help him out against Shokkra. So that if those two fought again, he wouldn’t be beaten within an inch of his life. So I was still...trying to figure out how to approach Shokkra. But it wasn’t hard, afterall. I found her in Warspear- turns out she’d just earned a new title. Stone Guard. I decided...I’m sure there will be a good time to talk about Phyruss with her, but in the meantime, we needed to celebrate her achievement!” “I made her this present. I’ll attach a physical copy of my notes with this log later. But it was a pendant that I crafted out of leftover casing from the first shot I took that put down big game. I’d been carrying around that thing as a piece of luck...but I wanted to pass it on.” “So she loved it! Hugged me and everything, and then we went on a booze run.” “Uhm. And then she uhm. Showed me this dress that she commissioned from Tahz. It was blue, and...it looked like something a shaman would wear. She almost...kind of looked like...this is going to sound stupid. No. No, it won’t. It’s coming from the heart, so it isn’t stupid. It just...feels odd, because I haven’t. Noticed. Stuff like this before.” “But she looked like the elements had wrapped her up. Or more like...she was this physical embodiment of the elements themselves. The blue of her dress was...shimmering, almost. Like the sea. And her skin was alive, really vivid green like Nagrand grass. I think I was staring. Gaping. Coulda probably caught flies. And then she just smiled at me. “You were saying about ogre brew?” And I think I started….babbling, like an idiot.” “Uhm. Anyway. We went dress shopping with Geryal later. Then we went to Wyrven’s Tail. And of course at some point Shokkra says something crude about Geryal’s mom then called Phyruss a bitch. But Geryal set Shokkra’s bottle of beer on fire after that and left. Which. You know. I was angry at her for doing that at the time because that is NOT the way we solve conflict, but in hindsight it’s actually a little funny. I just can’t tell her I think so.” “Shokkra dropped her bottle of beer so that it all smashed and fell at her feet. She stomped it out and tried to hide her wounds under her dress, but I’m not an idiot. I made her sit at a table, and started cleaning out her cuts.” “I yelled at her, and apologized. Then she said it was alright...that it was really good for her to know that someone cares about her.” “At that point, I almost wanted to pelt her with the bandages I was holding. Of COURSE people care about her. I care about her, a lot. I told her...that I wish I knew she cared back. The words she says can be hurtful, especially when it comes to Phyruss. I basically said as much.” “Then the most magical thing happened. She offered to apologize to Phyruss, without me even asking. She said that if would help make things easier for me, she would do it.” “She probably has no idea what that meant to me. I mean...I was just so happy to see what my friendship means. That, even when it probably stabs at her pride, she’d be willing to apologize to Phyruss just to help me out. Just thinking about it right now makes me want to float, or fly away, or go cliff diving! I hugged her instead and we made plans to go see the hot springs soon, so that’s great. I just have to bring the booze!” “I...think that’s enough! This has to be my longest entry to date or something, geez. But there was just so much love, and victory! I had to make sure I recorded every super important moment! Hah! Alright, alright, end log!”
  18. An entry made a little while later, attached to the same recording of day 284. “Addendum to entry marked day two hundred and eighty-four.” “I went to go fly a few laps with Galika around the base. It gave me some more time to think, after I got all the anger out of me.” “I recognize that Phyruss was the one who drew out the weapons on the top deck. He disrespected Tahz’ one rule, which...yeah. My brother is a hot-head, and I get overly defensive over him. He doesn’t get to escape blame because he got his ass handed to him over a fight he provoked in the first place.” “I need to send Tahz an apology. Maybe offer to replace some of his stock. I’ll find a way.”
  19. A sigh. "Still can't find my phrasebook. Oh well. This is day two hundred and eighty-four of my exile." Silence. “People say life is a series of ups and downs. Yesterday must have been one of those perfect examples. The kind of thing that you use as a case to show just how true that is.” “I talked to Saelystrasz. We had the first full, civil conversation that I can remember before everything fell apart. I told him about the Boss’ decision. I’m starting to take on more bureaucratic silliness as a result, for the purposes of training, but that’s not such a burden. It’s just a little tedious. Anyway, I talk to him and he asks me for help and advice. Basically on how to be trusted with a leadership role in the company again, that he and Faelenor are working on it together but that he needs some more guidance. I told him I would help him out.” “Everything after that felt so promising. Like I could run the length of the continents without stopping. I’ve had so many people come up to me and express their faith in my abilities to take on the role as a leader. Though, after Cantina tonight, I have my reservations.” The scuffing sound of footsteps across floorboards. “Phyruss was there. He hung out with me, and we talked. When the bar was getting too noisy, I asked if he wanted to take a walk. So we go down the stretch of the beach and chat.” “He told me he had to use the runeblade Sorrow in combat because he didn’t have any other weapon at the time. That it saved his life. I gave him a direct order to lock it down. I didn’t want to see or hear about it again until we found it’s partner, Hope.” “How can he not...spirits, how can he not understand that Sorrow is dangerous? We saw the damn proof of it! In the forest, with the original wielder, Tarra Shadeweave. I still remember when she found us. Singing her song. Circling us, demanding that we be quiet. What were we interrupting? It didn’t matter, she wanted to kill us in the end. Ride the high. Then she staked herself on her own blade.” “He PROMISED he’d not use Sorrow without Hope, but he broke his word. And then when I gave him the order, he lashed out at me. And during his rant...I could see a weird magic in his eyes. The blade has already begun to corrupt him. We can’t wait to search for Hope anymore. As soon as...as he recovers, we’re heading out to find it first thing. Everything else can wait. Including Shokkra.” “I’m so angry. Just..thinking about what happened makes me want to vomit or stab something.” “I know our friendship is going to keep getting tested. But...Shokkra. You hurt literally the only thing in this universe that keeps me going. My little brother is my entire world. I love Nok and the rest of my company, but...they’re not Phyruss.” “I’ve known him from day one of his life. He was tiny, but he already had hair on his head in a tuft. His hands were so small that he could barely wrap them around one of my fingers. He’s your brother, my mom told me. He’s our family. You’re his big sister, which means you protect him and teach him everything you know.” Laughter. “I was so excited to have a baby brother. I wanted to show him everything. How to fish, how to swim. How to hold a sword. When he started learning to run, I chased him through mom’s gardens. One time he got a bad gash on his leg from tripping on one of the pots and landing on this thorny plant, I can’t remember which one it was now. It’s been decades. Oh wow. I completely forgot about that. But...I think that was the first time I felt real panic over him. I grabbed him up in my arms- I think I was crying -and I took him to mom screaming that he was bleeding. She took care of him, it wasn’t that big a deal, but...that was the first time I felt like I failed him. It was terrible. Not even close to the sorts of scrapes we get into now, but that was a moment of realization for me. That this little elf I loved with my whole heart could get hurt and there was nothing I could do to stop it.” “The worst was when Aunt Pythral died. I watched his innocence die with her. At least I was there. I could hold him. But I couldn’t protect him.” In a softer voice. “It’s the heaviest feeling I carry with me, all the time. Knowing that I have to let him get hurt and make his own mistakes. I can’t baby him forever. But if I could? I would. It’s a little scary, thinking of what I would give up if it meant that he’d be safe.” “I know he asks to get beaten up all the time. He has something to prove, you know. He’s always been chasing me and Nok, trying to catch up ever since he was little. He throws himself into fights recklessly, and I know...I know I can’t teach him restraint. That life has to kick his ass a little bit before he learns his boundaries.” “But...DAMNIT Shokkra! You’re just as guilty! You’re even worse than him about boundaries! You see one, and you go out of way to destroy it because anything that suggests a limitation to you offends you. It’s one of the reasons I admire you, but it’s also one of your worst traits because you don’t consider the consequences of your actions. You don’t THINK, you just do what you want without even taking a moment to consider the people around who CARE about you.” “I’m so angry. So...incredibly angry. You guys want to rough-house? Fine. I don’t care. But you don’t SHOW that kind of brutality towards one of your own! You don’t just go in and hurt them because you’re feeling slighted and then SPIT on them as you leave, like a fucking child. Gods, even after the shit you’ve gone through and even after everything that you say about Sanctuary, all you’ve done is prove that you’re a hypocrite! You- you’re SUCH a...a fucking CHILD!” “Inconsiderate, self-centered, OBNOXIOUS…” Silence, with the occasional hiccup. A ragged, wet sniffle. More silence. “I’m going to learn eventually, and kick your ass, and then I’ll teach Phyruss how to kick your ass so you NEVER hurt him like that again.” “...but not now. Not when I’m angry at you, because the anger doesn’t do anything but breed hate. Being your friend...has provided me a lot of new challenges in my life. Not without it’s rewards. Like sharing secrets in Nagrand while we look at the stars.” “I’ll talk with her later. Right now, what matters is Phyruss and finding Hope.”
  20. Flustered shuffling of papers. "..." “I can’t find my phrase book for the audio testing, so I’m just going to skip that part.” “This is the two hundred and eightieth day of my exile.” ".." “So I talked to Nok about everything. I got to the part where I mentioned I ate people...that is so much worse when you say it out loud! Blaugh! But. But I explained my reasoning, and maybe it wasn’t, you know, the best choice but it was the one I made because I wanted to bolster race relations. Misguided, I guess?” “He looked at me like I was a monster.” Silence “I’m not PROUD of it. It’s not like I think I made the right kind of sacrifice for race relations. But his disgust with me wasn’t...what I expected. He told me not to do it again, like he caught me with my hand in the cookie jar. As if I WANT to...to eat human! I have human friends, dammit! You think I WANTED to- just. Just...damnit, Nok. I depend on you to be there for me. You’re supposed to be my safe place, where judgement doesn’t exist.” “Maybe I’m expecting too much. Just..how is that any different from Uncle eating gnome stew? Their both sentient creatures, and yet he doesn’t shame Cobrak for what he does.” “He apologized later, after I explained how it hurt. We were supposed to have dinner together, but I missed it.” “I complained to Shokkra about it...I’ll talk more about her in a minute.” “Anyway. After talking with Nok, I went to go see Uncle. He needed to have a meeting with me...uhm.” Silence “He showed me his will. And the documentation for Borrowed Time’s registry. Leadership reverts to me if he...is otherwise unable to perform his duties.” “Shit. Shit shit shit. I can barely keep Legacy Corps running as a cohesive unit and he trusts me to act as leader for the entirety of Borrowed Time?” “He said I earned it with everything I’ve been doing lately. That my determination...my courage...that my level-headedness are all qualities that a Boss needs. What our family needs.” A sniffle, then her voice wavers. “He told me he was proud of me. I won’t let him down. I swear I won’t.” A long stretch of silence. A clearing of the throat. “Hah. Anyway. After that invited Shokkra out to Pandaria for drinks and food, ‘cause I needed someone to talk to and I was still...kinda sore at Nok. It was easier to just go find Shokkra and complain than having to explain what happened with Torjusk to a new person all over again and possibly have them look at me like I was a monster too. So we had drinks and stuff. She called him a dick. Hee!” “Then I asked her about the dress I lent her. Freakin’-” A snort. “-she told me that Pai wanted her to...to ride her bareback, which, Spirits, coming from her, you know, I assumed one meaning because its HER and she’s an awful person but- no, actually, she meant that Pai turned into an elk or something and so she rode on her back around the Cantina. She totally meant for me to think it was something different though, the stupid jerk.” “So I asked her about a replacement. She had, like, five different dresses. I asked her why...she said she just wanted them. I think I created a monster with all this dress talk. Ugh, she’s gonna drag me shopping like Geryal does! I did not expect this.” A pause. “The dress was so bad. I opened it, and it was one of those awful Silvermoon specials with no back, and barely any sides, and hardly much front at all. It was even red, which- I never wear red. Unless it’s the blood of my kill, blah blah, listen to me I’m such a mighty hunter.” A giggle. “Of COURSE she’d buy me something like that. Then she begged me to wear it. She said I owed her, which...yeah, I remember that I sorta did, so.” Hesitation. “So I went upstairs to go change into it. Then...all of a sudden, I remembered why I HATE dresses.” “I was so vulnerable in it. I didn’t have any armor, any weapons, no protection. It was just me...in this thing that is silky and meant to highlight all the things about my sexuality. My femininity. I hated it. Spirits, but I wanted to burn it. Just- I was so ashamed in it. Maybe that’s a problem with me that I need to figure out, because something as simple as a dress shouldn’t make me feel shame. I don’t really understand it.” “So I was feeling vulnerable..and then Shokkra...joked around like she normally does. And I took it a little too seriously, I think.” “...” “The truth is, I don’t have a girlfriend to talk to about the insecurities I have over my sexuality. I mean, talking to Rhyze...would bring up awkwardness, since she’s sort of one of the reasons I’m confused about parts of it in the first place. And she doesn’t know any better than me anyway. So I wanted to talk to someone with experience. Not my mom! Because, you know, she’s my mom and we don’t have that frank of a relationship between us. She’s- Spirits, she is ABSOLUTELY one of the biggest reasons I have any hang-ups at all, with how often she tried to force me into dressy clothes as a kid. So no, I don’t trust her to have this discussion. Tsuyi..I don’t think she knows what sexuality even is.” “I have plenty of friends who are girls, but...I was vulnerable right then and there, and I trust Shokkra. So I- just started talking about it. About her approach to sex and mine. It was...actually really nice, to address something I go out of my way to ignore. I mean, I don’t ignore sex- like...Nok and I, we have a lot of fun together, but...that’s about as close as I get to recognizing that I’m a woman. When we’re intimate. The rest of my life, who cares what gender I am or how I handle sexual attraction? But maybe this is important for me. To be able to talk about it with another woman. I shouldn’t be scared of a natural part of myself.” “So we talked, and Shokkra made a joke...I dunno. It got tense. I don’t even remember what we were talking about. Something about candles and wine in the skulls of our enemies. I was trying to joke back, I think. I must have messed up somehow because she got very strange.” “Well. It was my first try at having a conversation like that. Maybe it won’t be so bad next time.” “We went back downstairs after I changed and just ate more food. We tried to talk about it more, but. I think we just decided we’re both idiots and I smushed pie in her mohawk, so that’s fine.” “I found Kex’ti later in the evening, when I was passing through Orgrimmar to get some beef jerky. He apologized for ‘drawing undue attention’ to me. He said he did it because he was pushed to anger. It makes me wonder what kind of conversation he was having where talking about my injuries was the natural response to anger, but...I don’t really care. It’s over, I’m nearly at a hundred percent anyway, so as far as I’m concerned I got the apology that I wanted and we’re friends.” “I told him about what Shokkra did the other night, with Torjusk. How she was super cool and stood up for Sanctuary even though it scared her to do so. He looked so happy! And proud. He was definitely proud. He thanked me again. I thanked him for not giving up on her. Then he gave me mango ice that was tasty, but a little too sweet for me. I called Shokkra over the private channel to have her come share it with me and I told her about the conversation I had with Kex’ti.” “He offered me a place under the Sanctuary banner. That he and Shokk would be honored with my presence. I think...if my family wasn’t Borrowed Time, I’d be a good fit for Sanctuary. But as it is, I have my obligations to my organization. Even more responsibilities, now that I’m vice boss or whatever title they’d give me.”
  21. <p>*wiggles little teacup snout*</p>

  22. ((AHHHHHHHHHHHH Now you make me feel orc things.))
  23. “Pheeeew….okay. Here we go. Real entry. Oh, shit- I messed up the order…"Laughter bordering on the edge of hysterical. "Holy SHIT. Feling fuckery IS THIS MY LIFE? AHHAhaha...!” More laughing, just as close to insane as before, until it slowly dies off with an exhale. “Right, okay. Uhm.” “ Hop over the fence and plunge in.” … “Use a pencil to write the first draft.” … “The heart beat strongly and with firm strokes.” “This is the...two hundred and seventy-ninth day of my exile.” “...shit. Where do I start? I mean, I had so much to say already before tonight. I talked to Uncle and told him I could handle Syreena. Mister Rayfea--er. Faelenor and Paiyuna came up to me to talk about what happened, because they heard something from Kex’ti.” “I really thought Kex’ti would keep his silence when he saw me with my wounds. I didn’t think that I had to explain to him that I wanted to keep what happened to me under wraps, since, you know, I wouldn’t even explain to him where I got the injuries in the first place. I hinted that I’d tell him later, but I guess he didn’t get it. I’m a little confused. Maybe a little hurt. I should talk to him and find out why he did that.” “So anyway, it seemed like everybody was waiting for Uncle to explode once he found out. But I talked to him, and made him see just what Syreena was trying to accomplish by doing this. And that we couldn’t let her incite us into a war. We had to take the high road.” “I actually managed it. I talked Uncle out of shooting Syreena in the face. I’m still not sure how I did it, but I did. Everyone was so proud of me! Especially Faelenor and Nok. It was...really nice, to feel appreciated like that.” “Then I did miracle number two and calmed Shokkra down after I explained to her what happened. Freakin’- A startled laugh. “- we even wore civilian clothes to Cantina with Syreena right there! I got Shokkra in a dress, and I was in a suit.” “I was scared, though, honestly. Like, I think if anyone got close enough, they could see me shaking. But screw that! If I want to go to the Cantina, I will, and not even the Shadowblade is going to stop me. Maybe I should thank her, actually. She made some of my fears become real and I -survived-. Yeah. I lived. I lived.” “Surprises and living. Had ANOTHER encounter where, at one point, I was dead sure that I was going to have to pull out Broden’s rifle and shoot a troll in the face. What actually happened was way, way better.” “So Torjusk, that Amani from a few Cantinas ago, invited Shokkra out for ambush training. She was allowed to bring her ‘pet’.” Derisive snort. “I’d make us matching collars for kicks, but...probably send the wrong message. ANYWAY.” “We get there, and there’s what looks like the corpse of a Northwatch Footguard turning on a spit above the fire. It was our guest feast.” “...so with the little time I had to think about it, I found only two choices. Offend the huge Amani troll and start a fight, or...” “...I might still kill Shokkra for that alone.” Throat clearing. “Anyway. So we’re eating, and drinking. I talk to September a bit, and notice all their animals. Lots of big, toothy beasts that could make a meal of us with a snap of their jaws. It was awesome. Then Torjusk starts explaining that he wants to train her in the ways of the Zandalari, that she’d be his orc champion and that she’d be an example of their strength. But he wouldn’t do if she associated herself with Sanctuary. Because he thinks they’re weak.” “I thought we were gonna fight. With the bat, the cat, the bird, the troll, and September. I mean, five against two isn't terrible odds. And the fact that they were mostly animals, well. I don't carry my rifle around because it's pretty. Maybe throw down a few traps, untie our wolves...it didn't get that far. Commander Julilee woulda been so thrilled. Shokkra just talked to him without being insulting or threatening. She laid everything out there. Like a Light-blessed champion. Freakin’ BOSS.” “I always figured that a person like Shokkra had her reasons for being in Sanctuary. I believed in that with all my heart.” “I know what she's done. Parts of her past. I know one of her futures, too. Where she wasn't with Sanctuary.” Silence. “She's really earning her second chance, though. Like I told Uncle, she’s trying so hard. And I just...I see so much potential for this timeline, and I believe that Shokkra’s future will be different. I wanna watch her grow instead of being cut at the knees.” “She said she was their soldier. That the Kor’kron molded her, but she is stronger now because Sanctuary gave her a reason to fight. I wanted to -scream-! I wanted to throw her a damn parade and shoot off fireworks in the sky and make her a statue outta fucking GOLD because DAMN if that wasn't one if the most inspiring things I have ever heard in my life! Feldamned maw of the BEAST! WOOOOOO!” There is an excited clattering, like she had leapt from her chair. Her tone is like a chant. One can imagine she is dancing to it, as the scuffling noises continue. “Go Shokkra, go Shokkra, you’re a boss, uh-huh, you told that troll, in his face, screw you! But was suuuper cool~!” A laugh, the a creak sound followed with a grunt, like she threw herself back in her chair. “Hah! Anyway! The Amani didn't slay us on the spot. Said she had two souls, and would wait to see which of the stringer would survive. Then we got on our animals and got the fel outta there.” “It was a tough ride back to Orgrimmar- Shokkra was outpacing me, and she wouldn't slow down until we got to a cliff edge in the middle of the city.” “Then she grabbed me. She was SCARED. Shokkra Deathrage was holding me and admitting she was TERRIFIED of what just happened. I...never thought she'd open up to me like that. It was just...so amazing. I felt so honored. Totally floored. Like… How did I earn the trust of this girl? Why did she think I deserved a gift like that? I mean. I know why. We have each other's back, always. I’d take on anyone who tries to get between us. She's worth the fight. I know it- I KNOW it. I...I just FEEL it in my gut that she is worth way more than anyone gives her credit for, because she had to go against so much judgement and hate for who she is and STILL she is able to stand up against the people she respects and own these values that she's adopted with her whole heart. War took her family from her, but she will NEVER be alone again, not if I can help it.” Silence. The tone changes to unsure. “...uh. So. She was shaking, you know. Like, she was so shocked from surviving what just happened that she hugged me and started admitting just how fucking -scared- she was that I tried to squeeze as much of my reassurance to her as I could. I...grabbed her face. Foreheads together, like my mom would do, and forced her to look at me. She was amazing. She needed to know that. I wanted to make her feel safe, calm her down.” “Then she kissed me. I mean. Emotions were pretty high. I know -I- was still flying from that entire exchange.” “...so, I said before that Shokkra and I had and understanding about sex and romance. That we see them differently and that's okay. This kiss had nothing to do with that conversation. I was so fucking proud of her. Proud to call her my friend.” “It was fine. That she kissed me. It didn't feel like...It was almost like telling each other that we survived, that shit is okay and we made it. And she was super embarrassed afterwards, which was cute and hilarious.” “Shokkra and cute in the same sentence. So strange. Super strange. Shokkra and scared! Never thought I would see that, ever. Shokkra and brave.” “She was awesome….Inspiring. I'm so glad we're friends. Genuinely, just...so. So glad.”
  24. There is no log date or added information to this recording. It simply exists as an isolated soundbite. “CAN PEOPLE JUST STOP ATTACKING ME WITH THEIR LIPS, PLEASE?!” “...augh. I wish I didn’t know what charred human tastes like.”
  25. Shit, Dora was late. She was in the middle of thinking about mechanical squirrels, then the next minute she’s wiping drool off her face while she tried to dig out whatever the fel was trying to drill its way into her back. Turned out to be a lost bolt. She hated when she fell asleep in her office. Then she looked at the clock, tossed out a few orcish curse words as well as a stray dwarven one or two before she threw on her armor and bolted for the stables. Shokkra was still waiting for her at the western gate, even after an hour and a half. Figures. She probably liked having the excuse to bitch at Dora for being an idiot. Dora yawned into her fist, barely able to stay astride her war wolf while they ambled up. Shokkra looked at her. “You just wake up or something?” Dora grimaces and wipes at her face, rubbing away remnants of sleep. “Maybe.” Shokkra, amazingly enough, didn’t seem to take the chance to rag on her like she was expecting. “Alright c'mon, better not keep the deadly Amani Headhunter waiting any longer. We're looking for a hut on the Southfury.” Oh, yeah. She was probably too wound up about the meeting with the Amani to bother. “Right…” “You're apologizing to him for the wait.” Well, maybe not that tense. “Yeah, yeah…” It wasn’t a long journey on the edge of the Southfury river. Hot, with the humidity wafting off the river making Dora’s leather feel heavy on her frame. But the troll made himself easy enough to find, so that within a few miles of riding the orc and elfess pair directed their wolves towards a structure of dried skins and logs driven into the packed soil. They both tie off their animals to a nearby tree before they approach the fire at which the troll and his elven companion sat. Shokkra shoots off a sharp salute, with Dora doing the same. “Amani.” Torjusk stood as the pair approached, his arms held akimbo. "Well now, look at dis." He grinned widely and gestured to the preparations. "Sit yaself down, Warsong. Gonna be seein' da hospitality of Zanza." Shokkra took a seat by the fire, nodding her head at Torjusk. Dora spied the little elven woman, the one she understood to be a servant- or a slave. September, she remembered as being this girl’s name. September glanced to the pair and inclined her head with deep respect. "Zul welcome joo," she said softly, stepping out of the hut a bit further. Dora plopped down beside Shokkra with a grunt, happy to find respite under the shade of the tree. Torjusk had gestured to the "meal" prepared for his guests. A skinned torso and abdomen was roasting over a spit and fire, a white tabard with a golden anchor burning beneath. The organs and entrails were placed in a bowl nearby... It didn’t take much to figure out what they were about to eat. Screw Shokkra yelling at her that damn orcess was never going to hear the end of this one. Feling diplomatic relations. Shokkra unlatched the chin strap on her helmet and laid it beside her. She grabbed a large piece of meat and chomped into it happily. Dora wanted to scowl at her, but refrained. A large cat crept out from the overgrown grass, coming to stand loyally near September. He watched the two guests warily. Torjusk placed his hands on his hips whilst rearing to his full height, seemingly proud. "Joo gonna be eatin' well, ah tink." The horrid remains were emanating a scent of foreign spices and a wine baste. The Amani looked over at September as he squatted down again. He jerked his head for the servant to approach, urns of drink sitting with empty mugs. September did as she were bid, hurrying over. Well, it was either offend the troll or eat the meat and try not to think about it too much. Dora took up the offering. She didn't give herself much time to consider what she was biting into, she just ate it like Shokkra did at her side. September looked to each of them. "Dere be fiya water and panda plum wine. Which jaa be wantin'?" Shokkra tore into the meat, bloodying her hands and face with the bits of Alliance soldier. She grinned at Torjusk. "Fire water." September nodded and poured one mug full of firewater, which she handed to Shokkra. Shokkra took the mug, nodding in thanks to September as she started to down it. “And joo, Dora?” Nothing was ever going to wash out the taste of human from her mouth. Nothing. “Uh, wine.” September filled another mug with the sweet liquid and gracefully offered it to the other elf. Dora took up the cup, her meal set aside in favor of the drink. "Thanks, " she grinned. “Joo be welcome.” Torjusk grinned from tusk to tusk as his guests devoured. "Dat one be a good catch now." He removed a stone dagger from his belt and cut himself a large slice of muscle. He tore at it with little ceremony or manner. September saw to filling yet another mug to the brim with firewater and offered this to Torjusk with a small incline of her head. "Amani'shi." It was an honorific Dora wanted to look up later. She mentally filed it away for now; there were more pressing matters at hand. Torjusk looked between Dora and Shokkra, his gaze lingering for a small time on the former. He nodded in satisfaction. "Dere be plenty dat, so don't be holdin' yaselves back now." He took the mug without so much as glancing in September's direction, the contents drained within moments with a strand of it to spill down a large tusk. September stepped back and settled on the dry grass silently. She patted her thigh and soon the feline came to lay near the girl. They all sat in a big circle, with Shokkra at Dora’s right and September at Dora’s left. The cat settled between the two elven girls, which brought at least a little bit of pleasure to Dora. She wondered on the size of the cat’s teeth. September noticed the glance and smiled softly at Dora. "Dis be Bashjala. He be sweet as dey come." "He's beautiful," she said. She didn't dare to reach out to the cat, but there was an energy thrumming through her from how badly she wants to be closer to the animal. Dora was a sucker for impressive beasts. Maybe that’s why she was friends with Shokkra, she thought to herself. She tried not to laugh outloud. September smiled brighter at the compliment to the feline. "Tank joo," she whispered. Shokkra pulled a small knife from her boot and carved off another chunk of the meat to shove into her mouth. Dora sat silent at Shokkra's side with her cup in hand. Any excuse to not have to eat more of their meal. Torjusk was taking his time, however, allowing for more of the torso to be eaten away, and drink to be partaken, before he ceased eating himself. He leaned back while squatting still and took one a more serious disposition. “So. Joo be rememberin' why joo come here, Warsong? Joo and dis otha one?” To the side of the hut was a large predatory bird that Dora didn’t recognize. It pecked and cawed quietly at the unflayed limbs hanging from the corner of the destitute hut. It eyed the new pair warily with vacant eyes before disregarding them and continuing to feed. Shokkra wiped the blood from her mouth and belched loudly, downing the remaining fire water and looking at Torjusk. "Amani ambush techniques wasn't it?" “Dat be right, though it not be all...It been some days, and some tings be different now.” Bashjala moved closer to Dora at September's nod of urging, and lowered his head non-threateningly. Dora offered up a little of her meat, just a scrap. Bashjala accepted it with a quick snap, devouring it eagerly. Faintly, a soft rumble could be heard from the tiger's chest. Shokkra just raised her eyebrow at Torjusk. “Go on.” Torjusk nodded solemnly. "Ah been speakin' wit mah Hierophant about joo. Ah offahed ta teach joo tings as it woulda been if Kazra'jin still been around. Da best way ta bond be ovah da old ways. Da killin' and means of ya people." Torjusk 's body language and expression had shifted drastically from moments before. He spoke of this 'Hierophant' with clear reverence. Dora also filed this away for later examination. "And dey be agreein' wit dis one for da most part. But, dey be sayin' dat maybe ah should be doin' someting different..." September ran her fingers, covered in Zandalari rings, through Bashjala's fur as she listened to Torjusk speak. The tiger settled down quietly under her touch but kept an eye on the new arrival. Shokkra was busy listening intently to Torjusk, her posture straight and features determined, as if she were at attention in boot camp. Torjusk watched Shokkra carefully from across the fire and grizzly remains. His back straightened and his chin raised, eyes glinting in the fire before a grin returned to his fiercely painted face. “Mah mission as envoy be ta watch ya new Troll Horde. But, dere be more...even if ya Warchief not be givin' dis Amani an audience. Ah supposed ta be showin' what da Zandalari can offah da Horde. Why dey be bettah of if da Vol'jin swallowed dey pride.” September shifted quietly, leaning forward on her knees to refill Torjusk's mug and then Shokkra's. She was never neglect in her duties, Dora noticed. She also noticed September glancing to Dora shyly from the corner of her eye. Her expression held a hint of interest. In what, Dora couldn’t be sure. Torjusk lifted a long arm and pointed at Shokkra. "Eyes always be watchin' joo wherever joo go, Warsong. Joo be proud and both ya enemies and friends give ya heed when ya near. So...Mah Hierophant say ah should teach joo more. Dat he might even be helpin' ta send tings dat'll teach joo more den Amani ways. Dat ah should be teachin' joo ta fight like Zandalari.What bettah way ta show da Horde our strength den through one dey champions like yaself...How dat be soundin' ta joo?” He returned to watching Shokkra closely, his eyes adopting a predatory glint. He spoke the possibility with reverence as before, the Troll clearly believing this to be an honor of sorts. He absently ripped at the still roasting body while waiting. Shokkra was thoughtful for a moment, glancing at Dora then back at the Amani. "What would it mean for me? My responsibilities, and such." September leaned towards Dora slightly and whispered softly, so as not to detract from Torjusk's convo. "Joo be a fighta too?" Dora glanced over at September. She grinned, and shot the girl a little wink. "I'm not just a fighter," she tells her, "I'm leader of the Legacy Corps." September’s brows rose in genuine surprise. "Da leader? Is dat jaa organization?" She repeated the words. "Legacy...Corps?" Dora continued whispering back to the girl. A part of her, the diplomatic side of her, hoped that this exchange wasn’t viewed as a slight against the Amani, but since September reached out to her and the girl seemed worshipful of him, she didn't see much harm. "Aye! That's my organization. We're a subsect of a mercenary band. I handle logistics...organize contracts. I also oversee the construction of a lot of our equipment." September regarded Dora with newfound awe, nodding slowly. "Jaa be doin' much!" She looked to Shokkra briefly, confusion on her brow as she looked back to Dora. "And jah mastah dun be mindin'?" Dora giggled. If only Shokkra overheard that one, Dora thought she’d be the butt of the resulting jokes for weeks. But she sensed the weight of the conversation being had between orc and troll. She perked an ear. September furrowed her brow, with confusion clear on her face, but she fell silent all the same, understanding her place and shifted her attention back to Torjusk and the Orc. Torjusk shrugged with a toothy smile. "It means joo know bettah den ta try ambushin' anyting wearin' armor like dat. Means joo maybe learn some ways dat da Zandalari not be givin' easy ta outsidahs, ya responsibility would ta be da Orc ah tink joo be. Mah Hierophant tink it be a fair trade, and so does dis Amani'shi. Maybe joo become what da Horde coulda been if Zandalar and Orgrimmar were togetha.” “And when joo conquer ya foes? Othas gonna be seein' dat. Gonna be knowin' what da Zandalari can offah dese young-tusks.” Shokkra grabbed a smoke from her belt and lights it, puffing out a miniature cloud into the air. She rubbed her chin for a moment then nods, grinning at Torjusk wickedly. "Alright Amani, I'll be your Orcish Champion." Torjusk 's features turned to delight, his visage cruel and pleased. And yet, a shadow overcast his sudden glee as if something now weighed upon his brow. "Zanza be praised. Ah'd be seekin' ta teach joo at once, if it not be for one ting..." Shokkra cracked her neck. "And what might that be?" Torjusk seemed reluctant to speak, grunting as his thoughts churned. "It be why joo be sharin' mah prey wit dis Amani instead of learnin' already..." He was momentarily distracted, looking over Shokkra and Dora's shoulders. He reached for the bowl of organs and tossed what appeared to be a kidney far over the pair towards the looming tree. There was no landing thud, and a faint chewing could be heard from the treetop. He then continued. Shokkra chewed on the cigarette in her mouth, cracking her knuckles as she listens to the Amani. “Ah be hearin' many tings. But dis was...difficult ta see. Not many seem ta want talk about dis, unlike wit da Grim. Joo mentioned it before and...it not be good ta dis Amani.” Torjusk affixed his eyes upon Shokkra and spoke a single word. "Sanctuary." His brow creased and his shoulders hunched. "Joo be confusing dis Amani, Warsong." September glanced at Shokkra beneath her lashes, a tension to the way she sat, as if expecting some sort of backlash. Torjusk poured himself a mug of pandaren plum, almost wearily. He drained the cup which was dwarfed by his hand while waiting on a rebuttle. Dora felt her friend tense at her side. She had no idea what Shokkra would do. She held her breath, glancing to take in the profile of the orc woman whose mouth still had a dribble of blood at the corner of her lips. She sat ramrod straight, eyes like steel. Dora clenched her fingers into the grass at her side, then twisted. “Sanctuary... is a thin line I walk. I believe in what they do, or what they try to do, their old values sing to my heart louder than its current ones, and current leadership. I am working towards Sanctuary becoming more of what it used to be, a force in Horde lands and a threat to the looming demonic threat.” September shifted her worried gaze to Torjusk at this answer, the tension growing on her youthful face. Torjusk 's wide grin, which had faltered before, lessened further. His eyes grew distant, and he assessed Shokkra coldly. He seemed to bite his tongue for a moment in displeasure. "...Dat be so?" He tossed another organ into the tree, the faint chewing to resume. Dora peered across the gathering, from September to Torjusk, before landing on Shokkra. “Yeah,” Shokkra responded, “it is.” Dora, very gently, bumped Shokkra's shoulder with her own. Bashjala seemed to sense the rigid set of September's stance and rose to all fours to sit protectively near the elf. Torjusk kept his eyes on Shokkra as his head tilted to the side. "And joo remembah what joo was sayin' before? Da people joo hunted and da kind dey was?" He shook his head from side to side then. “Ah learn many tings...like ya Hellscream once sought da Sanctuary routed from dey land. Dat dey was crushed and broken into hidin' beneath his rule. Da rule of Kor'kron, ya?” “Yeah.” September cleared her throat, attempting to lighten the atmosphere and ask if anyone needed a refill, but the words came out in a dry squeak and she quickly looked to her lap. Dora glanced over at September. Despite the seriousness of the conversation, she managed to find a crooked smile for the woman. The hiccup was endearing, Dora thought. Poor girl looked so frazzled. September took her long, cinnamon hued braid between her palms and began kneading it somewhat nervously. She caught Dora's eye however, and managed a warm smile; the action causing her to release the braid and take a deep breath. Torjusk reached upward to stroke one of his ornately carved tusks. He absently glanced toward Dora and September while he contemplated his words. "...Dis Sanctuary not be like da Warsong ah seen. Dis Sanctuary be weak, Warsong. Dey call for da peace wit dey enemies. Da Horde say dey even forbid joo from hunting ya foes. Dey shelta da weak dat should be dyin' like nature want.” Shokkra didn’t waver. “I've heard it all before. Numerous times. Everyone says that Sanctuary's weak. That I don't belong. But I've seen them fight. I've spent the better part of this campaign with them. I believe in Sanctuary, and they believe in me, and nothing, not even a Zandal will change that.” September was glancing back and forth between Troll and Orc as if witnessing a most intense chess game. Her jade eyes fell to Torjusk at this last comment however and rested there. Dora puffed up a bit in pride. She couldn’t help it; it was like a bomb of pride exploded in her chest, to swell her ribcage to bursting. Torjusk closed his eyes for a moment. His gaze was undeterred when they opened. "Even da weak can be havin' fangs, Warsong. Ah ask joo dis. Where would ya Sanctuary be witout joo? Maybe dat why dey be believin', since dey know joo strong. Eh? What would ya Warchief, da Hellscream, say? What would ya Kor'kron say ta dis and who ya serving now?” “Wouldn't know. They're either dead or rotting in a cell. And I'm not just Sanctuary's fang. I'm the entire feldamned maw of the beast.” Dora snorted with amusement at Shokkra's words. September curled her bare toes in the dry grass anxiously and watched the flames of the fire flicker with an odd look of contemplation. Torjusk seemed taken aback. His fist thumped against his chest. "Joo sayin' strange tings, Warsong...Dey nevah be gone. Dey be here." He lightly tapped over his heart with his broad knuckles. "Das how joo be knowin'. Da Warsong ah seen must be in dere wit dem. See? Even joo know dis. Dey be witout teeth witout joo! Why joo hold yaself back like dis...?” “Here's why. If any of them saw me, my old brothers in arms, the Kor'kron, they'd be scared of me. Of what I've become. I'm stronger than I ever was with the Kor'kron. Sanctuary needs a killer, a soldier. I'm their one fucking exception to the rules. The Kor'kron molded me, trained me, but Sanctuary gave me something to fight for. Something WORTHY, to fight for. And I'll be damned if their memory deters me from the path I've chosen.” Dora, if possible, swelled further with pride, her smile forced to stay small but twitching like she wanted to grin. Then she heard rustling behind her. Something stirred just near them, in the tree. An immense white bat lowered itself to a lower branch, perhaps in search of more morsels to be thrown since the flow of organs had stopped. The creature hung from the lowest limb of the tree behind Shokkra and Dora, eyeing them with its pale eyes. Instinctively, she looks back. What she sees makes her breath still in her chest. Pupils blew wide with her sudden entrancement. But she also recognized that there was plenty of danger to be had now. With the predator bird gnawing on the bones of the human’s limbs, the predator feline at September’s side, and now this bat...this fight was not in favor for her or the orcess, at least by numbers. The bat returned Dora's stare, the gargantuan creature fixating its pallid sight upon the Elf wholly. It flexed its wingspan, the leathery flesh covered in veins. Dora turned away. Torjusk stared for long while in silence at Shokkra, weighing their words as the fire died beneath the recently shared remains. "Dat kind nevah have no exceptions, Warsong. Once dem fangs of ya own break? Dey gonna be castin' joo out." September bit her lower lip and chewed on it a bit as she watched the back and forth. Sweat had broke out on her brow and trickled down her slim face. A nervous glance was cast towards the bat from the corner of her eye, as she dare not look at directly at it. “Joo speak of spillin' blood. Joo eat wit dis Amani, da remains of ya foes. Joo speak wit pride and what dis world coulda been. And yet...it be like ah speakin' ta anudda Orc now. If dis Sanctuary was believin' in someting worthy, den why it be hunted down before? Joo tell dis Amani dat war cull da weak, dat it be needed. Dis Sanctuary would see war nevah come again, and dat be weakness talking.” She could still hear Shokkra at her side. “Sanctuary doesn't want the world to end in chaos and blood because of petty bullshit and old hatred. We accept what we have now, and the best of Sanctuary fights the Alliance and the demons with unbridled fury. War culls the weak from the strong, yes. It also destroys entire families, civilizations, empires. I've lost a fucking lot to war. If I could lay down my blade now I would. But that's not the world we live in. But at the end, when there's nothing but death and destruction, there will be nothing left. I want a future for my people, for the Horde, and for Sanctuary.” Torjusk emanated disappointment. His head hung low for some time, and his eyes looked upon Shokkra in a different light when his head raised. "So...dat be it." His eyes were filled with latent apprehension, confusion, and pity as if he looked upon someone ill. September was watching Shokkra with a tilted gaze and thoughtful jade eyes. When Torjusk spoke, however, this abruptly ended and she looked down to her hands. “...Ah like joo Warsong. And ah know what ah seen in joo...but, da Loa would be angered if da old ways were used ta protect da weak. Mah blood was wit da fire ta share wit joo. But, ah cannot be teaching joo anyting now.” Shokkra’s response was immediate. “I'd encourage you to seek out Kex'ti Dalendala, and see if you think we're still weak.” Torjusk lifted himself from his squatting. He walked over toward his hut and took his spear from where it leant. "Ah seen ya kind before. Mah Hierophant tell me about people wit two souls in dey body..." Dora, at the mention of Kex'ti, frowned some. But the back of her neck prickled as she watched the large troll stand and move for his spear. September picked at the arid ground, tossing little blades of dead grass off to the side. Then she crossed herself in an odd fashion, as if warding off bad juju at the mention of two souls in one body. Shokkra thumbed the hilts of her axes as she watches Torjusk, rolling the cigarette in her mouth. Torjusk merely saw his spear sheathed atop his broad backside as he turned. The Troll's shoulders and bow seemed much heavier than before, laden with contemplation. He eyed Shokkra distantly. "Ah'll be waiting for joo when da strongah soul devour da otha." September rose to her feet instinctively as Torjusk didn't make to seat himself again. She came to stand near her master, hands clasped in front of her. "Zul be havin' mercy on jaa until den." Shokkra grabbed her helmet, strapping it back to her head and standing up, lifting Dora slightly with her. "Mok'ra, Amani." She untied her wolf from the trunk of the tree before she mounted it. Dora regarded the pair of them with a curious glance. But at Shokkra's nudge, she was on her feet. They lived through that, somehow. The elation in her was just beginning to make neighbors with the pride in her chest. She shot September a last strange glance over her shoulder before she mounted up. She owed the strangely accented elfess a lot, it felt like. She’d been kind, and she even drew a picture of Shokkra and Dora the last time she was there at the Cantina. It was sad to Dora that she would likely never see September again; or if they did, the girl would be forced to be reserved and distant all over again. September made to wave to Dora, but dropped her hand quickly and merely murmured. "Bye, Dora." Dora shot her a parting smile from atop her war wolf. "Bye, September." Torjusk reached for his horn atop his belt and stalked off to hunt. He called back as he waited for the pterror wing that was summoned. "Zanza watch ovah joo..."