[[Template core/front/profile/profileHeader is throwing an error. This theme may be out of date. Run the support tool in the AdminCP to restore the default theme.]]

Qabian last won the day on September 17

Qabian had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

103 Excellent

1 Follower

About Qabian

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 09/14/1981

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. All sorrows can be borne if put into a story? No. I have no sorrows of my own. I do not bear sorrows. The stories I tell are deceptive and manipulative to make the world closer to what I wish. I am someone else's sorrow come to life, someone else's story untold and made to walk within the world, someone else's sorrow never properly borne, made of misery to bring misery. I am my parents' sorrows. I am Silvermoon's sorrows. I am the story. I am the story that makes their lives easier and everyone else's more difficult.
  2. I slammed the door behind me and blocked it with my back. My heart was racing so fast I thought it would leap from my throat. "I did it. I killed him," I managed between panting breaths. "Killed who?" he asked, not even looking up from his book. "You know who," I hissed. He calmly closed his book, laid it on the side table, then sat forward with his hands on his knees and grinned at me. "No," he said with an exaggerated tone of disbelief. "You don't have that in you. You're too good and obedient, choir boy. You couldn't kill someone, no matter how much you hate them." I covered my ears with my hands. "Shut up shut up shut up. I did kill him. He's dead. What am I going to do?" I could hear the pleading in my voice and it made me feel sick, but desperation kept me standing. He sighed and stood up. "Don't beg, choir boy. Never beg. It's gross. Let's go see what kind of mess you made." I wanted to shout him down, to tell him he was wrong, but I was too relieved that he agreed to help me. It was difficult to feel anything other than worthless as I followed behind him. --- I folded my arms across my chest. He was clearly being obtuse. "Listen," he said. He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and steepled his fingers. "This is not something I am ever going to understand. I know people say they hear the elements, but as far as I'm concerned the only voices they are actually hearing are their own." I rolled my eyes. "I have never heard the elements in my life, yet fire and water do as I ask." I slammed my hand down on the page between us. The words "Because you abuse them" formed. He leaned back. "If you truly believe that, why did you ever ask for my help?" I opened my mouth, both in shock and that old habit, a reaction when not having anything to say. I had no answer for him. He sighed. "The voices you heard then were the voices of the world, yes, but they were the magic that lives within it, magic you can know, and understand, and use, magic you can take apart and put back together, magic you can analyze, categorize, and calculate. It was magic speaking to you, not some sort of being with thoughts of its own. It was the world and yourself." I frowned and looked down at the page between us. "If that's true, then no one cut me off from anything, and vengeance is pointless," I made it say. He didn't answer immediately, and I held my silence, staring down at my words. When I looked up at him, he was staring at me, a deep frown etching his arrogant face. "Yes," he said. "But then everything..." He waved at me dismissively, simultaneously cutting me off and sparking anger in me. "You will need time. Do not do anything rash," he ordered, though his tone was more conciliatory than commanding. "I will help you with whatever you need. You will prove me right or prove me wrong before you choose what to do with this knowledge." --- "Stop crying," his father demanded. We were in a cramped white room, me, him, his father. I was having a mental breakdown. I was sure my life was over. They would demand I suffer. If they didn't kill me outright, they would clap me in chains for the rest of my life. "Did you mean to do this?" "N-no! Of course not!" I stammered. "Why would I--" His father crouched down, put his hands on my shoulders, and spoke very slowly. "Take a deep breath, then ask yourself the question again. Did you mean to do this?" I did as he asked, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and thought about the sequence of events that led me to this place. "Yes," I said quietly. The calm that settled in place of his father's hands when he took them from my shoulders was eerie and cold. "Why?" his father asked. "Because I hate him." His father stared me down. "Even now that he is gone forever?" "Yes," I answered clearly. There was silence from everyone in the room. He was quiet, then looked up at his father and said, "Thank you." His father nodded curtly, then opened the door and issued orders to whoever was outside. "There was an unfortunate accident. There was no crime here," his father said in a commanding voice. The door closed, leaving the two of us behind. I fell against the wall and slid to the ground. He put his hands on my shoulders as his father had. "You'll be fine," he said with a smile. "I know, because I always am." My face was still wet with tears when I looked at him, but I smiled back. "You're right," I said. "We'll be fine. Thank you." --- I stared in awe as the city opened up before me. I had never seen anything like it. I could see he was trying not to smile at my reaction. The corner of his mouth twitched in that way it does. "Beautiful," I signed. "All of it is yours," he said. "Liar," I signed back at him, but I knew what he meant. The libraries, the people, the freedom to learn who I was, to decide who I was, and all of it without burning any bridges yet, all of it with the excuse of self-betterment for the cause. Not that anyone would ask. Like him, I did not make friends. But this place, this city that floated above the violence would keep me safe. No, he would keep me safe. If anything went wrong, he would put himself at risk to help me, as he had now several times. I stared up at him. I couldn't help but wonder what he gained, but the first time he agreed to help me, I decided then never to ask him why. Just in case the knowing broke the spell. I learned that knowing could break a lot of spells. He just nodded. "Let's get you moved in, shall we?" I nodded back, then looked at my feet as I followed him.
  3. Qabian stood leaning against the back wall of the embassy with a handful of other hangers-on as the so-called leadership of the Horde discussed their armistice. How he had managed to get there or what right he had to be there, no one seemed to question in the moment. A little peace between the Horde and the Alliance never stopped the Grim. Never stopped him, either, although other things did, now and then. Lor'themar acting as the speaker made Qabian feel vaguely ill. He wondered where Rommath was. The Grand Magister probably knew the whole debacle would provoke physical disgust, especially given what was going on with Dar'khan's little gang of disciples multiplying through Stormwind, and had the good sense to stay home. But peace and co-operation came in waves, ebbed and flowed. The more co-operation between the Horde and the Alliance, the greater the threat on the horizon seemed to be, and Qabian couldn't help notice the sense of foreboding, not just in himself, but in everyone in the room, and outside in the city beyond. Sylvanas' disappearance exacerbated that. Whatever was coming next was going to be bad, and she was either going to be the catalyst or woven inextricably into it, as Garrosh had been before her. The story was getting tired, but the necessity of survival superseded everything else. Qabian stepped quietly outside before the ambassadors finished speaking, once he realized Thrall was going to force a council on them. Seeing how well that had worked out for the Forsaken recently, clearly it needed to be modeled. Kumai waited for him near the gate. "You and I aren't to speak to each other anymore, remember?" Qabian said with a frown as he approached her. Kumai smirked at him. "Haha, very funny," he answered her smirk with a roll of his eyes and a scowl. They had taken on each other's mannerisms and their ability to communicate without saying anything was useful. Kumai reached into a pouch at her side, then tossed a pinch of soft dust in the air, before using her fingers and a shimmer of heat to weave it into a shape: the knives and shadows of the Grim. Behind the floating image, Kumai raised an eyebrow at Qabian. Qabian shook his head. "I don't know. There is always an ebb and flow to such work, and in theory, now is the time to prepare as the horizon promises there will be much to do, but..." He hesitated, looking past Kumai around the rough, omnipresent browns of Durotar stone. "Nazjatar has changed everything irrevocably. For me," he amended. "I may continue my project in Northrend, pretend it can hold my attention indefinitely when there is really no way that it can, but at least it is something to occupy my mind between the everyday struggles while we await that horizon's approach." He turned away from the embassy and the orc he was speaking to. She was one of the few people he could consider a friend without them ever insisting he address them as such, but the urge to pull away from even those few seemed to increase every day. She stepped up behind him and put her hand on his arm. "You have not yet found your Nazjatar. Or you have and you have already moved beyond it," Qabian said quietly. He didn't flinch from her touch, but he spoke to Kumai without looking at her. "I think I may need to find my way on my own." Kumai held her palm out in front of Qabian's chest with the Grim symbol still floating above it. The dust shifted its shape, showing a series of figures, all of them women: a shorter proportioned elf figure with a lot of curves, a tall figure with much longer ears and that characteristic shal'dorei arrogance in her stance, a small raggedy bony figure with knives aggressively stabbing at the air, a few other elves of varying shapes in various stances suggesting violence, then a small copy of herself right down to the little dust figure floating above her copy's hand. Qabian watched the series of images, then sighed. "I know. I am not alone. But I should be." He sidestepped Kumai's incoming punch with a curt laugh. "I know, I know. I know where to find help if I need it, but I don't even know if I want help at this point. We must wait and see. No, I must wait and see. I will grow into my role as a wizard locking himself away in a tower. You must go ahead without me." Kumai nodded. She let her dust lose its magic and gather in her palm, then closed her fist around it. The two Horde mages gave each other simultaneous lazy salutes, as if they'd practiced synchronizing the gesture and the mirrored smirks that followed before they turned away from each other, walking separate ways out into the city.
  4. Life is easier when I run cold. Everything is simpler, smoother. Decisions make sense. Everything seems obvious. Cruelty comes easy to the cold. Hatred that runs hot has no time for cruelty. It seeks death, obliteration, ashes. Fire cannot be bothered with drawing out pain, with monitoring the suffering of its victims. The cold can use fire to play its games, but fire itself does not toy. Fire does what it does, or it dies. I am not often cold, no matter how often I try, no matter how easy and simple it makes every choice and action. I could be. I could choose cruelty over destruction. When I am caged to be useful, when I am used like a lantern with its glass walls and quiet fuel, I fall to cold cruelty for a lack of capacity to be true to my nature. Perhaps it would be in my best interests to simply light the way for ruin rather than indulge in it myself. Because there is another side to running hot. And it is distracting. And I find it very difficult to reconcile with what I would like to see accomplished. And yet. It feels as though it is only in my nature to do as I am doing, to be who I am, though it accomplishes nothing beyond extreme satisfaction. When I am cold, life is simple. When I am cold, the Grim is pure logic. When I am cold, decisions are made before they are needed. It's impossible for me to be cold anymore.
  5. I cannot be "of the people." I do not have any people. I put myself above all others and always have for as long as I can remember. Any I could once claim as mine were erased at the hands of Arthas. Any people who were both of like mind and understood me are long since dead. There are some -- two, at my count, perhaps three -- who understand me, who know me, but they are not of like mind. The Grim, they are of like mind, but they do not understand me. The Grim are not my people. The Grim hold similar ideals, but not identical. The Grim open the path to endless violence, accepted and encouraged. They know and appreciate hate that consumes all. I wonder how many of them actually hold the Mandate closest to their heart, though. How many of them actually hold the Horde on the pedestal the Mandate demands? Their Mandate is a strong banner. It is easy to follow, durable, a strong moral core to uphold the violence, difficult to crack short of the crumbling of the Horde itself, but we all seem to fall under it for different reasons, none of which are actually the Horde. For me and I believe for Syreena, it is the humans. For Awatu, it is the dwarves. For most, it is likely one or two individuals who need to die, or the ephemerality that is love for chaos itself. For all of us, it is the death we need to bring to a few or to many. We accept Horde protection and supremacy as a stand-in for what we truly crave. But the way the Mandate is written, it survives despots and lunacy. It should also survive the fragility of being led by a company connected only by treason. How often does one have to betray the people one claims as their own before they realize what they have become, before they understand their truth? You have no people. You are all you have. It will not be for the elite, no, but it will be exclusive and I will decide who can have it. Wealth is an insufficient indicator of acceptability. It is a good one. Those who have amassed large amounts clearly hold themselves of highest import, but they do not necessarily have sense as well. With the rumors I hear, Northrend may be the only place I can stand to be awake without walking back into the clutches of the Bronze, a place I can survive while the Horde decides if it even wants to exist in the future, or if our precious factions are as meaningless as those who believe themselves heroes would like to claim. I know who I will bring here, and they are not the Grim. They are not my people.
  6. I wish she weren't right. There are ways in which she isn't, but If she were anyone else, I would be disturbed. I might play along, but I would not Instead, I I don't like the idea that I may have had anything in common with them. It frustrates me to even consider such a thing, let alone concede it. The only nature I've accepted was theirs is narcissism. Everything else, the cruelty, the intellect, the power, I built with the help of those like me who never shared my blood. They get credit for nothing but selfishness. Yes, I respect the selfishness, enjoy the selfishness, but that is all they gave me, nothing more, and they used that gift so poorly for themselves. And yet. If there is space for me to act without it, perhaps they did the same, set it aside for something they wanted. I still hate the idea. I would rather be right. It's not like I'm going to fight this. It's not like I want to. But it has to end badly. There is no happy ending. You would think by now that I would be used to wanting things that aren't going to turn out well for me, that I would be used to chasing the present, the hedonism, that I would be used to considering the consequences and weighing them and deciding the future is a price worth the present. But this is such a different game from those I am used to playing. I am used to the cruelty being the song, not the silence. We have never answered to the leadership of the Horde. We answer only to our ideals. We have sometimes, often, failed them, but they have never failed us. We knew as well as she did that this moment wouldn't last. I made certain to ask every one of her loyalists that came to us what they would do when she turned on the Horde. I made certain they acknowledged this possibility. And yet, while she no longer stands for the Mandate, for the Horde, she has turned on us in nothing but words. Lordaeron frightened some, but what she did seemed natural in the pursuit of victory. And everyone else who has fallen at her hands turned against the Horde first, turned toward the enemy. She can no longer be followed, no, but perhaps she can be used? Not as a tool. She cannot be directed. But perhaps if we follow where she walks, where she makes her deals, there will be opportunities to be the destruction we crave. As long as we shield ourselves so that her violence is directed ever outward at others, she could still bring peace in her wake, the soft, ashen peace of Teldrassil. But it's a dangerous proposition, if what she says is true. Why would she bother with our trust? I don't think she needed it, and yet she had it, not from many it seems, but from some. We have been here before, no matter what decisions they make, at least as a whole. Silvermoon has not been here before. Silvermoon has not been without the Prince and the Queen both. Silvermoon has never been entirely at the mercy of someone with as little strength as Lor'themar. He has always marched to the tune of others, and now we need a king and have only a traitor. Rommath has strength, but I do not think he has the will to make things right. I have considered leaving it entirely, but there is always room in the shadows. Where would I go? In Dalaran, I need the shadows. Even in Suramar, I need the shadows. She can be my shadows.
  7. When dreams hold more logic than reality, what recourse is there but to sleep? When those leading the charge fail to grasp what is good and what is necessary, what recourse is there but to withdraw support? When their ideas are good but their tactics are so flawed as to be harmful, what good is it to follow them? It is easier to follow a Warchief whose ideas are worthless but whose tactics are strong than the opposite it seems. However this plays out, the throne must give way to someone new in time, either in body or in action. Perhaps when that happens, there will be reason to step back into the fight. The Regent-Lord fails his people and no one has the strength to replace him. The Mandate will continue. For all its many interpretations, it seems immutable at its core and indestructible in its concept. And there is no abandonment this time. I follow no one anywhere else. I follow only myself into the shadows. I will stay close, but I will stay quiet. I am a child of blood and fire, but every fire burns itself out and the sparks must find new tinder before it can blaze again. There is no fuel in Nazjatar. There was a time I would have given everything in my power to walk Her halls in peace that we now walk in violence, and seeing them from this perspective has shattered every hope I once had for us. I remain Grim, but Grim in my dreams, until I can call on my own fire which has been smothered by this failure of a war. I was never suited to this anyway. I was far better than nothing, yes, and I made it my project and priority, but I was never inspired to it. I know what is good and what is right, but if I cannot impart it with words, I have no other way to convey my knowledge. Convey the truth with violence and pain then? No, that is not my way. All that I am capable of conveying with violence is death, and death of our own does nothing for the war. She understands us well enough to keep us strong as long as she has the bodies to guide. And she has fire of her own and a bloodthirst that far outstrips mine in the here and now. I don't know if the Mandate can hold her up. It weakens under Sylvanas' faltering steps. But in the time she has, she will do well. She is inspired to it in ways I never was. If only those the Mandate needs can find it before it's too late. I have someone to hold my truths. They will grow with her until I can put them to use once again. For now, they have no place outside us. Not anymore. Things fall apart.
  8. What am I doing? What am I... There aren't regrets. Not per se. There was never enough there to make it worth questioning the decisions I made. It's not about what's right. It's not about morality. What do I care about doing the right thing? It's about the value of what I have. It's worth too much to put at risk, so I draw my lines where I need them drawn. I can't help but wonder, though, if I'm falling apart. If the lessons the Bronze imparted have not stuck. I am weak and vulnerable, and I have been preyed on yet again. Have I? I question myself more since then, since everything. It makes me more honest, oddly enough. Still, no one should believe anything I say. They should know better. They should always know better. I've never been comfortable with this, but who else can do it correctly? If someone else tried, I would chafe and want it fixed, want it done my way, so perhaps I need to simply stop fighting. I am more stable when I'm lying. When I'm honest, I am crumbling. Be wary when my words ring true. Falsehood should be reassuring. She wants what she cannot have. We always do, don't we? I don't even know what I want anymore. I want quiet, and that is unlike me. I don't have friends, nor do I want them. Strange things happen when people call themselves my friends if I fail to disagree. Keep them all at arms' length. Am I proud? Beyond narcissism, at least? I take pride where it's earned, but it seems earned so rarely. I think I expressed my ambivalence. I am proud of who we were. I am proud of what we are capable of, should we actually make the effort. But am I proud of who we are at the moment? I don't know about that. All the best of us died to the Scourge. Those of us who were passable then followed Kael'thas and died with him. Only the idiots who left him for the Scryers survived. The idiots and the double agents. Dar'khan steals from us to this day, long after returning to ash. The sin'dorei I don't find vastly unimpressive are few and far between. Lor'themar has so little ambition he hardly deserves to be called a regent. The Windrunners all chose the humans over their own people long ago. Only Rommath keeps me from giving up on us entirely. If she needs pride to see her through, I hope she finds it stronger than mine. Given what she's said of the situation, I doubt there's anything in it to be proud of, but I wouldn't put it past whatever serves for justice in Silvermoon today to fail me utterly and give mercy where it's undeserved. Our nation is ruled by the pathetic. But I've never been a good example. Even when I had the pride, I toyed with it in others to get my own way. I have always put my self above everyone and everything else. I still do, though my methods have taken on different subtleties. And still I wonder. Have I squandered the gift of the Bronze? Have I fallen too far to avoid drowning? Is that why I'm so tired?
  9. I said too much, gave away too many truths. There was a lie anchoring it all, though. Nothing wrong with that. I'm honest about who I am. She knows I can't be trusted. What disturbs me about that lie is the whiteness of it. I could rationalize, make my excuses, that I needed the lie for some other blacker, more sensible reason, but the whiteness of the lie is behind the gifts, too. Maybe I shouldn't have toyed with her, but curiously, I don't regret that at all. It might make her kill me in my sleep, but she wouldn't be the first to try, and good luck guessing where I am any given night. I have my freedom. I never relinquished it. That would be a line drawn that I refuse to cross. However, my curiosity to see how the game plays out, intense as it might be, is nowhere near sufficient. She has earned things from me enough. She has earned abridged tales of tables she could turn. She has not earned me. I suppose, if she were determined, she could make the attempt, but better to break her of that hope at the expense of the game, better to make her think I'm something else, better to make her turn away. Better for everyone. Better for the Grim. I've chosen treason. Treason keeps me loyal. I like how that works. I wonder if she'll hide now, or if she'll make good on her threats, vices and silence. Her problem. Not mine. And the rat lives. She thinks she killed her heart. Hilarious. I don't remember telling her that, but it does seem like something I would do. I wonder if I can get her to admit that in front of Syreena, have Syreena add a heart to her ear collection. I should have killed her the moment she showed her face. Instead, I showed her history and gave her hope. Since when am I an agent of hope? There is chaos in it, I suppose. Hopefully it'll direct itself away from me. I'm failing to do rather a lot of things I should do, not enough to blow up in my face yet, but that is a distinct possibility, growing more distinct by the hour. I spoke with the boy's mother. I don't know what I thought would happen. Maybe I thought I could fix an old problem with a new solution. She thinks she was once broken and is now fixed. I think she was once fixed and is now broken. The best thing for her now, and everyone involved in that tale, would be the quick release of death. Yes, even the replacement. The things we do are objectively harmful, and we will just keep doing them, won't we? Because we want to, and we are selfish.
  10. It should be enough. It should be enough just to hate. I shouldn't need reasons. Garithos was the reason I offered whenever a reason was demanded. He was reason enough, too. I shouldn't She doesn't understand. Hate is easy. It is warm and strong. It protects from all manner of harm. I didn't need reasons to hate. We were just predators, preying on the weak, the lesser, those who would grow and learn and die too fast to remember the techniques we could focus on for decades. We didn't need reasons. Yes, they gave us reasons, but we didn't need them. They weren't my friends. I didn't lose anyone close to me. Not to them. The only thing that killed them was the Scourge, and the Scourge was what? A disease of the world? Arthas and Kel'thuzad can take a lot of blame for being weak and lesser, for falling for trap after trap after trap. Dar'khan can take some blame, for being power hungry, a grand failing of our kind, and his sweet little mutant children overrunning Stormwind now are what happen when you open the gates for death. But even though they weren't my friends, I was too close to what happened to them. It changed me. It changed what made me hesitate. I was always more violent than not, and though I was never demanding, I resolved I never would be. I would never be like them. I would never take the way they did. I would only destroy. She doesn't understand. How could she? Who does understand? A wolf without its pack is prey, and I've been without my pack for too long. The Grim stands in for them, but the Grim failed me. I was prey. More than once. I've learned not to rely on them. The Grim feed the hate, but they do not understand it. They don't need to. I shouldn't need to. She shouldn't need to. Hate should be enough, in and of itself. It does not need reasons to exist. It only needs to burn. It only needs to consume everything in its path. That's all it needs. She is an obsession, a dangerous path with no way to turn from it. Even if I try, I'll always find myself back on the same road. And I have given her everything. Of my own free will. Everything. Prey again, without my pack. The other needs to ask better questions. I don't think she wants to ask better questions. I don't think she wants what she says she wants, to do something for me, which is good, because she won't get it, but I'll get what I want, words and questions, the sound of my own voice, amusement at what nothing can cause. Be careful giving words too much power. They don't have any of their own. The cat disagrees, but also puts a point on the possibility that the only power they have is mischief. I need to spend a week in Suramar to remember what we should have been, but Feralas calls. I don't need brothers, but I'm glad of them, nonetheless, if only for the hope they give. Yes, hope. I like that people assume I know nothing but ruthless cruelty. I like knowing I can drive hate so easily. That doesn't mean I know nothing of things outside hatred. What do I know? I know more than those who worship at its feet. I know more than those who wear it on their sleeves and on their banners. I know because I run from it and it hunts me down. I know because I do not want it, do not need it, and yet I have it. Killing me with kindness would be much more difficult than even the ridiculousness of the cliché implies. Boring me with kindness might be manageable. I suppose maybe you could bore me to death with it? But even then, either you're the sort of kind hearted person I either destroy or walk away from, or you're not a kind hearted person and I take the opportunity to dismantle your kindness, find the motive in it, make you regret ever having plied me with it in the first place. Or you're the kind of person who's better at playing my games than I am. There aren't many of those, so I don't fear them though I probably should. The team building silliness at least takes my mind off the menacing truths running deep under everything I do these days. I would definitely prefer to watch from the sidelines, but that's better managed when other people are on the dais than when I am. And if it makes them stronger, then so be it. I'll take my loss of dignity and chalk it up to forging bonds or some other useless lie. That Eye is pointless. It saw the obvious but not the dexterous. You can tell the truth and not tell the truth at the same time, and how can one device detect that nuance? You can tell the truths that don't matter and neglect the ones that do. There is a way to get every truth from me, and it is actually quite simple, but who actually finds that much value in truth?
  11. Oh no. Oh no no no no. I just realized. The other possibilities. None of this is good. None of it. I think I can keep it from... going entirely off the rails? But it's a mess. Don't they know nothing comes of this? I learned my lesson. I'll play the games and say the words all I want, but it's going nowhere. Besides, behind closed doors, I'm worse. In every possible way. Mm, almost every possible way. They have no idea how much worse I really am. There's only one place I go for truth.
  12. The sound of my own voice never fails to start trouble. Thankfully the number of people who have ever realized this is small. Better not to be interesting. I do a lot of truth telling for someone who is an avowed liar. I wanted to bemoan the place I'm in. I do not mold and encourage and develop people. I can test them, but I do not create them. We could, plausibly, have someone in this role who could create new Grim from troubled souls who find their way to us. I am not such a person. At best, I assess. Even then, I find assessment exhausting. People are... tiring. Destruction in and of itself is much more sensible than people. Not only that, but I am, in fact, a terrible Grim. On the surface, I'm not, but anyone who has been forced to trust me for any amount of time has a sense of it, even if they cannot define it. Awatu does, I'm sure. Syreenna definitely does. The actions I take to keep myself from giving in always have an edge of treason. Never against the Mandate, but often against individuals. Not because I hold the Mandate particularly highly, but it is a ludicrously easy path to follow and not one that actually requires a great deal of rules. People, however, are complicated. I was surprised to hear Awatu mention Loa in such a manner, but perhaps he has ideas I do not. Ideas I tried to contemplate aloud, but of course not. That and... I don't know just how well any given power can obtain souls with so much competition for them out there. There are things I shouldn't speak of. I miss my didactic preaching on the subjects in the time before, when people were simpler and easier to use. I have fears now I did not have before the Scourge, not of the dead, but of weaknesses I then did not realize I had. Every once in a while, those weaknesses make themselves known in places where the doors have not been closed. I should keep my mouth shut, or pretend the last fifteen years didn't happen. One of the two. Instead, true confessions with an insistence that I talk too much rather than an implication that at least half of it was false. No, none of it was false. I have been monumentally stupid. I will likely continue to be whenever weaknesses come to light, but I will not be caught. After all, I already am. Where's Tradire?
  13. What... have we done? I have never seen such... So much... These islands bore me, but Azshara's voice is audible here as it was on the other Isles. I do not fear what she will do. I fear what she will fail to do. I fear she will become just another setback that we will overcome, when the history she holds should mean so much more. History becomes meaningless in the face of the Bronze and the Titans. They strip the value from our stories and endeavor to make us worthless. They will succeed if we do not hold them at bay. Alphaeus asked if I had ever done anything selfless in my life. My immediate response, and the correct one, was an obvious no. But then it occurred to me, and because I enjoy the sound of my own voice, I even revealed that I have evidence to the contrary. Perhaps it is a singular event. No, not entirely singular, but definitely rare. I am capable of selflessness, but if you want it from me, you have to earn it by doing something that means a great deal to me and absolutely nothing to anyone else. In the grand scheme of things, I am capable of no such thing. I have no need for selflessness under the Mandate. The Mandate encompasses my self and every narcissistic action I take furthers its impossible cause. It is best not to dwell on stolen moments that suggest I have the capacity for any real sacrifice. I know that what matters most to me is my self, so I had pieces of me carved away, my ear, my name. But knowing that hardly seemed enough, I tried and failed to do more at the time. In the many months since, I think I have done enough, and look forward to earning that future place of respect without continued sacrifice. But to suggest that anything could matter to me more than I do is heresy of the highest order. Isn't it?
  14. Qabian stepped up the gangplank onto the Banshee's Wail, giving Dazar'alor's great pyramid over his left shoulder a smirk as he set about leaving it behind for another day. The Troll essence pervading everything wore on him. There was enough to it to keep him interested for a short time, but the longer he spent there, the more he wanted out. Despite the Amani's presence in his backyard, Qabian had never been entirely anti-Troll in his past. He knew the sheer duration of their civilization--if it could even be called that, but it was ancient--held secrets that even he could not easily dismiss. Yes, those secrets had left him with a useless, impossible-to-kill cat, but still. Unlike the humans, who had stolen a gift they did not deserve, and the night elves, who had turned their backs on the magic they should have guarded, Trolls actually knew things, important things, held them close, and could use ancient magic imbued with powers that could not simply be denied. But Qabian found himself tiring of their aesthetic easily. It took good, vibrant, powerful colors and threw them into right angles and crude faces, no curves, no sweeps, all boldness with no subtlety, no grace whatsoever. The isles of Kul Tiras were objectively worse, all dead trees and gloom, dreary stone and unpleasant sea creatures, more grey than anyone should have to look at for any length of time, but there, at least, he found no push to appreciate anything. All anyone asked from him in Kul Tiras was fire, and he supplied it with deep contentment, even when it cost him hours in the company of healers later. As the Banshee's Wail set off to bring the day's adventurers to Plunder Harbor, Qabian leaned over the starboard bow and breathed in the salty air. It had memories in it. He had never been particularly naval minded, but the ocean held memories of Quel'danas, and horizon lines brought to mind all those hours spent in honest prayer to the Highborne the sea had swallowed, the Highborne who he had found still lived, the Highborne whose queen he had abandoned for reasons he could not remember. The words of the shark loa floated through his mind. Azshara's motives are hidden behind a vast darkness. She reaches into a place from where she cannot return. Hasn't she been in that darkness for millennia? Qabian thought to himself. Aren't the naga the living proof of that darkness? Did Gral think he knew something different? The blood elf wondered if he would ever find out. The loa had departed with an expressed intention to learn more, but made no promise to return. Qabian was still considering the subject when the ship arrived in the port, and Qabian made his way through a town full of mutineering humans where no one complained when one or a dozen of them were found shivved, floating face down in the water.