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  1. Catalinetta walked through the forested area outside of Suramar city. In her short time visiting this place, the death knight had witnessed cruelty that frightened even someone who served the Lich King. Elves, starved for mana, exiled from their home. They wandered these woods, withering away until their minds collapsed and only a frantic lunatic remained. As a Sin’dorei who lived through the years in between the Scourge massacre and the war in Outland, Catalinetta understood the feeling. The withered reminded her of those back home, the wretched who wandered outside of Silvermoon. Though radically different, it seemed like having too much or too little mana was a common issue amongst their people, whether Sin’dorei, Kaldorei or Shal’dorei. I guess we’re not so different on the inside, the death knight thought to herself as she carefully traipsed through Suramar’s forests, looking for something to feed her axe. Having spent the past few nights in Borrowed Time’s infirmary, the runeblade was practically screaming to be fed. Blood, cruelty, either one was needed to satiate the curse every death knight bore. Without feeding her weapon, Catalinetta would share the fate of these withered. Even in her undead state, there was always a price for sanity. Eventually, she came upon a group of withered. They were huddled around what appeared to be a mana crystal that had been dug up from the ground. Shoving each other out of the way, the skeletal elves turned violent and clawed at one another for the crystal. Catalinetta readied her axe and said a prayer for the soon-to-be dead. It never felt good to put them out of their misery, but she considered the suffering they endured and wondered if perhaps death was a better option anyway. Approaching them carefully, the death knight readied her axe to create a rune in the ground that would slow her prey. She was just about to strike when someone beat her to the punch; a group of three Shal’dorei suddenly appeared from behind the trees, and struck down their afflicted brethren to take hold of the ancient mana crystal. Cat watched as they made short work of the withered with what looked like hastily hand-made weapons, cut from branches and stones. It was only once the withered were dead, and they had the mana crystal safely in their possession did the Shal’dorei notice Cat’s glowing blue eyes from the shade of a nearby tree. “You,” one of them said quickly, holding up a makeshift polearm. “Stay back.” Cat held up both hands, her axe glowing overhead. “I-I’m not going to hurt you,” she said quickly. “I’m not your enemy.” The Shal’dorei regarded her skeptically. It wasn’t just the black armor, or the glowing blue eyes. Death knights projected an uneasy feeling in general, and despite the testing done on her by the Scryers, Catalinetta was no different. “Look,” she said quickly, reaching into her pocket. The Shal’dorei moved into a defensive stance, awaiting some sort of attack. From her pocket, Cat retrieved a handful of mana crystals. “I was collecting them for other fugitives. You can have them if you want.” Still unconvinced of her good nature, the Shal’dorei made no move to approach her. Instead, they glanced at each other for some sort of sign. “Here,” Cat said, attempting to diffuse the situation. With her eyes focused on the supposed leader of the three, she knelt down slowly and placed the crystals on the ground. “Just take them. I don’t need them.” Carefully, the leader approached her. He was much taller than Catalinetta, and sickeningly thin, but still wore the robes of a rich elf, though they were heavily frayed and stained. What were once likely bright white hair and eyes were dull and listless, and Cat could clearly see his pupils beneath the dim glow. As they regarded one another through eye contact, the Shal’dorei scooped up her offering with one hand and pocketed them. “Why offer us this mana?” He asked skeptically, standing to face her. Cat shrugged. “I-I don’t really need it. I was just collecting them to help.” “Help,” he repeated, narrowing his eyes toward the death knight. “Why would an outsider want to help us?” It was a good question. Cat tried not to make any sudden moves, but her nerves got the better of her and she shrugged. “I just… I just wanted to help, that’s all. To do some good.” Silence followed her answer, until one of the other Shal’dorei walked forward. “But you are elven as well. Could you not utilize the mana for yourself?” Cat smiled awkwardly under her helmet. She shook her head, pigtails scratching the inside of her neck as they were squished underneath her helmet. “No… I don’t really use mana, anymore.” The Shal’dorei looked between each other, confused. Noting their bewilderment, Cat reached up with her free hand and removed her helmet. Underneath, she looked like any other blood elf; a cherubic face, round cheeks, long black eyebrows. However, it was clear that there was something different by the gray tint to her skin, and the pale blue glow of her eyes. “I’m a death knight,” she explained. “I was killed during a fight with the Lich King’s army. He brought me back to serve him, but, I broke free. Along with a lot of others.” “You died,” the Shal’dorei male said, his long eyebrows knit with concern. “You died, yet you stand before us.” Cat laughed nervously. “...uh, yeah. That’s the idea.” “You are an abomination,” he said calmly, though there was no malice in his voice. “Yet you have helped us. What do you benefit from this aid to my people?” Sighing, at a loss for how to answer, Cat’s eyes drifted to the ground. As a living Sin’dorei, she dreamed of being a hero. As a death knight, the dream still lived, though she found it increasingly difficult to make sense of the world and how a hero’s heart could survive unscathed. Memories of Light’s Hope Chapel bubbled forth, a reminder of her cowardice. “...redemption.” The Shal’dorei’s eyebrows twitched. Cat’s expression was remorseful, that much was certain, and if she was lying the death knight made no show of it. Carefully, he placed a large hand on one of her pauldrons. His eyes sought hers, the light in them just a little brighter. “Come with me, death knight.”