A shroud concealed Bloodsword Hall with hopelessness and melancholy that would not be lifted no matter how many months had passed since Baroness Aelenna's untimely death. Servants moved through the gloomy corridors with quiet steps, and even the soldiers went about their duties in somber manner. In his office on the first floor of the Hall, Baron Nevarias Bloodsword sat in a comfortable chair and stared unseeing at the correspondence and reports that piled up on the mahogany desk. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew they needed to be looked over, that outside of this room the rest of the world moved forward and that people lived day after day, performing the same tasks they’d been doing before and would continue for days to come. He also knew that, if need be, Seneschal Revanthas would take care of these minutiae and make certain the barony and the Hall ran smoothly with or without him. In truth, the Baron wished it could be without him. There was nothing in the world he wanted more than to feel her soft skin under his hands just one more time, and watch the joy and love sparkle in her deep blue eyes as she smiled at him with a smile that was his alone. He wanted to wake up tangled in her arms and legs as the dawn sun rose, with a riot of silken curls the color of old blood spilling over his chest. He wanted to taste sunlight and salt and her skin, just once more. Gods... the sweet scent of her already was fading from his chambers, lingering only now in the wardrobe where her gowns still hung. His wife; his love. In two months it would have been 80 years. It wasn’t enough. It never would have been enough.
He missed her. So much.
There were contracts and waivers, tax documents and surveys, medical statements and permission forms enough that by the end Olivan's hand was feeling cramped. But about a half hour later he slid the paperwork and pen back onto the desk and waited to see what came next. He didn't have to wait long. After a moment the Seneschal lifted his head, reaching out to leaf through the papers while making noises of acknowledgement. Olivan shifted nervously from one foot to the other, nearly holding his breath in the expectation of some questionable detail or complication being spotted by Seneschal Armathor's keen eye. So intent he was on watching and waiting, that he jumped nearly a foot when a loud, insistent knocking boomed from the door behind him. The Seneschal didn’t seem at all ruffled, however. He didn’t even glance up from his perusal as he said, “Come in.”
One last glance back and Olivan caught sight of his older brother, standing in front of their family's home on the farm that had been there for generations. Dawn hadn't yet lit the sky, but he could still see the house that finally would finish vital repairs from the War. A sudden, stray thought had him wondering if he would ever see his family's home again before he shook his head to chase off the stupid suggestion. He was only going to the city, after all. It was less than an hour away on hawkstrider. Olivan swallowed the fear and excitement before he ended up making himself vomit again to raise his own hand in return.
What an awful week. If it hadn’t been for Jericho staying by my side and keeping me distracted with tormenting him rather than brooding on my own, I would have existed in a perpetual state of melancholy. And all because Iloam had shown up at Fancy Cakes for five or ten minutes, only to inform me that he had to get some paperwork done, and was leaving for a few days. He would be back on Wednesday, he assured me. There was no reason to be concerned, for my part. Things have been going rather well, and we were relaxed, just enjoying the time we had before the Regent-Lord sent orders to resume operations in Pandaria. Iloam seemed content lately, which is the best I can ask for really. He gave me a wonderful Winter’s Veil and birthday. So honestly, I would have been alright, just a bit blue that he was away but confident that he would be back soon enough. Then I went to Shadowfire.
On Sunday, I will be turning thirty years old.
Slowly I move to the chair where my son sits, eyes closed and fingers laced through the long, flame-red locks of hair. Not only was he wrestling with his own longing to return home to his own time and the family that missed him, now he was faced with prospect of abandoning the mission he'd taken upon himself and destroying an amazing mechanical creation.
After he whispered that single word, the paladin simply trailed off into speechlessness. I know what he sees, standing before him and offering him the appropriate gestures due his rank. My hair is longer now than it was when I was a girl, touched with only a few strands of frost save for the single white curl near my right temple. The skin of my face, still pale and smooth thanks to the agelessness of my race, just hints at tiny lines at the corner of lips and eyes. Those eyes bear the knowledge and experience of centuries rather than the mere three decades of the youthful Baroness he had expected to walk in. The man I had once known as Lenarad Sanguard hadn’t expected to see the older version of myself, but of course he immediately recognized me when he did.
Striding across the golden pathways of Silvermoon City this evening seems like a half forgotten lucid dream. It is remarkable how there are always details that contribute so much to the whole picture in that moment you live it, only to be buried in the depths of your subconscious and forgotten until they are gone or you finally note the absence. This morning I had walked these very streets; now, as evening draws deep shadows in nearly forgotten corners, the vast changes stuck out to me so blatantly that they seem gaudy now. Magelights reflect off the pavement, glittering like a fairytale as I walk closer to the sturdy walls that separate Bloodsword Hall from the rest of the city. My hands rise to pull my hood on further against the chill of night, blocking my features from view to the gate guards.
The rooms for Acolytes in the Spire are very nice, all things considered. The bed is soft and warm, there's a plush carpet underfoot and a well-appointed desk with a brightly hovering magelight for studying. So much for the humble, spartan existence I was taught to value to encourage Tenacity, but then again, humans and sin'dorei have very different definitions of modesty. The menial labor is similar; dishes, laundry, floor scrubbing, but when you have magic to assist in the task even that isn’t as strenuous as I remember. Which is probably for the best, really, I am terrible at laundry. Or any other manual labor.
Of course I was angry; who isn't angry when they are betrayed? Who wouldn't feel insulted at being so boldly lied to? I have been betrayed and lied to before, of course, many times by many people I held varying levels of respect for. Revanthas taught me that, at times, a noble must become creative with the truth, depending on the perspective of those they speak to. Alainthal taught me never to completely trust even those who are close, for everyone has their own motives. Maras taught me that truth is one thing to one person and something else to another. So it is certainly not a foreign or even surprising experience to be betrayed and lied to by even a fellow Priestess, supposedly dedicated to teaching and upholding the Virtues. If I had been the only person to suffer due to the Abbess' perfidity, I likely could move past it with irritation and the mental note; alas, Ari also suffered due to her scheming. Possibly more than Ari.
"Look up," he insisted quietly from right behind me. Iloam put emphasis on the words by pressing warm lips just behind my ear as we lay together in my bedroll atop the soft grass in Nagrand. His brogue was low and graveled, his body hot against mine as he held me tightly to his chest, and the aroma of leather, bloodthistle, and that decidedly male Iloam-scent surrounded me in its subtle comfort. My movements were languid, sleepy, and it felt almost dreamlike as my gaze lifted to regard the sky above us. “Look..." he said again, his arm moving from where it wrapped around me to point at the brilliant trail a falling star made through the sky. My heart still felt numb while my body was warm, but his voice was soothing as he instructed me to watch the stars and planets overhead.
For weeks I’ve made vague comments to acquaintances regarding my service to the Horde army. Nothing overtly treasonous of course, just mild discontent and complaint. Over a month ago I was called back to duty, and from that point on I worked with my fellow medical officers in planning and preparation for the large-scale attack that was being worked out on the Warchief’s orders. The first thing that really struck me was the infuriating sense of superiority the orcs were carrying themselves with. None of the other races were as important to the Horde as they, according to the way they spoke, and the Kor’kron tended to back them up on it. As the weeks continued, that arrogance only increased, leaving all the races of the Horde muttering in their own groups but still bound to serve the Warchief’s will. I was displeased, and had no desire to observe the Kor’kron order my House to and fro, so I sent the soldiers of Akh’Argar to Quel’thalas with the thought that they would be better off guarding our borders. Nevertheless, it was my duty to serve and fight for the Horde, as I had for the last five years, no matter my irritation.
My knuckle scraped painfully on the metal of the bottom of the orc's helmet as I targeted the only place there was no armor to stop my blow: the neck between his breastplate and faceplate. The punch still hurt as it met tough, green skin, but not as much as punching solid metal would have, I imagined. However, I was willing to wager that the heavy, merciless blow that crunched into my jaw in response hurt far more than that.
The orc yelled something about assaulting a Kor'kron and treason, but for the last few weeks I've been dealing with asshole orcs throwing their weight around with all the smug satisfaction of favored pets feasting on choice cuts of praise while sin'dorei, tauren and trolls had to make do with the scraps of their bullying orders. We were at war, and it was getting worse, and Hellscream didn't like elves very much. Or anyone else for that matter.
“I am… totally… some kind of social freak…”
My words were low and no one was around to hear them as I hunkered down on the outside of Olathe’s bar some time after it had already closed, but there were still people lingering about, talking, drinking a bit. There’d been some trouble with Synnaquin, and… I was going to have to look into her situation immediately. Nevertheless, right now, this very moment, my mind swirls with a tumultuous whirlwind of reflections and feelings.
I closed my eyes tightly against the burn of tears; I closed my eyes tighter against the hunger gnawing in my gut, ever present anymore but unavoidable. My arms wrap tightly around myself as I fight to concentrate, to struggle and direct my rebellious brain so that I might identify and address the most prominent thought and emotion among so many. In the end, I recaptured my control and breathed slowly; in through the nose, out through the mouth.
It is never a wise decision to involve fel magic in matters of fate. The Seer Lilthessa was a sweet young woman really, who seemed to truly care about others and their feelings. A few months past, when she was at the Farstrider Lodge, she was very sensitive to the distaste others experienced at the scent of the nether in the air when she drew her cards. I do not sense any real malevolence in her, and I am fairly good at sensing malevolence. In spite of this, her abilities came from the use of fel power; I should by no means trust the cards fully. Nevertheless, I am at the same impasse I've been facing for over a year. I just wanted... an idea. A direction. A starting point. So after a particularly upsetting night, I contacted the Seer about a reading. I needed her utmost discretion in this matter. The things I would be asking were very personal and private. Fortunately she had an opening for that day, in Dalaran.
This picture, this woman... she looks so... familiar...
Where have I seen that look? Those eyes? Large and lost...
Wait. The sword took elven form. He looked so similar to...
Oh Light. Oh Light.
Calm. Must stay calm until I leave. Light, how do I tell Iloam?
He’d kill Iloam if he ever found out.
Large, blue-skinned vyrkul guards stood unmoving at their posts as Barab Coldforge walked along the iced pathways woven throughout Jotunheim. Small icicles dangled like winter-themed ornaments from beards and furred clothing, but the half-giant northerners seemed just as uncaring of their presence as they were of the occasional rime that dusted off their exposed skin when they happened to shift or bend a joint. Though every one of the massive guards were nearly four times his size, Barab didn't look up at them. These creatures were only slightly less mindless than the shambling hordes milling about at the bottom of the Citadel; and these were even more useless under the new Lich King, their so-called "Jailer of the Damned."
The things I do for my dark souls.
“Pack an extra pair of heavy boots, and a couple more insulated socks,” I instructed my maid, a young girl by the name of Raeni who just started a month ago. Her brother had been here somewhat longer, children of my butler, and she’d only recently been considered “old enough” to take the task. I liked her; I still missed Sara, even after all this time, but I do like Raeni so far. “Oh, and in the back of the winter wardrobe should be my fur-lined cloak. Summer or not, I shall require it in Icecrown.”
A letter, sealed in crimson wax is delivered by the hand of a young sin'dorei footman wearing the livery of House Akh'Argar. Inside, the words are neat and scholarly Thalassian on cream parchment.
I can offer you all kinds of delightful things. Take me up, feed me.
The young priestess sat upon her bed, crossing her legs and folding her hands in front of her primly. Unruly crimson curls fell haphazardly around her face and down her shoulders. The rogue sitting on the floor in front of her follows her movements with his eyes, his words hesitant as he spoke to her. He desired her trust and was willing to trust her, but even so… there were some things you simply did not talk about.
However, the girl had no illusions about the rogue. Within the months she’d known him, she’d already seen hints of the killer underneath. She wanted – no, she NEEDED – to know what that meant. “ Like you do what you think other people want because otherwise... you just wouldn't bother…” she tried to clarify what he was telling her, tried to understand where he was coming from, in regards to the people he interacted with day to day. “Like you have a responsibility to bother and that's the only reason why you try. Does that sound right?"
“You know,” I mused out loud, looking towards Synnaquin who sat next to me on the upper floor of Olathe’s Bar and Grill, “We’re in Orgrimmar…”
“I know,” she answered absently, leaning back on her overly thin arms. “It’s weird.”
A grin slowly pulled at my lips. She saw it and suddenly seemed to be bracing herself for something.
“… Want to go to Azshara?” I suggested, grinning that much more. “Break into the Blacksong house? See if we can find something to use to track a missing dancer down with?”
“Ooooh –Hmm, sure!” the warlock responded with a blink and a growing grin of her own.
My boots are fairly soft; suitable for walking the golden streets of Silvermoon but hardly what one would wear trudging through bloody battlefields. They don’t make much sound on the marble floors of the circular main hall, and I’m fairly certain the shadows muffle the sounds that remain. And the shadows are indeed everywhere in this room, from corner to corner, barely chased away by the glow of Silvermoon at night through the large floor to ceiling windows. I moved around the circular area to tug on the thick ropes that closed the crimson velvet drapes and let darkness fall even darker all around me. The greatest darkness was, of course, reserved for the twisting tendrils of warm shadow that wrapped themselves around me and caressed my body with the seductive touch of my own negative will. As I walk, the little light that remains grows steadily darker, as if my curling wisps of visible passion snuffed out everything in its path. It reminded me of the way the earth shriveled under the feet the Scourge army as they pushed through Lordaeron and Quel’thalas towards the Sunwell. At the thought my lips twist with bitter amusement; once such a comparison would jar me back into reason. Not this time.
Generally I love research and reading. Learning new things, making new discoveries, and puzzling out mysteries provides a rush of excitement and triumph. It’s a heady thing, to seize control over ignorance and illuminate its darkness with the Light of knowledge. Of course, usually I’m able to spread out my books and notes over my table in the library at the Hall instead of a small bed in a tiny apartment. And usually I have servants willing to bring me tea throughout the day, not rely on a pot of lukewarm water and a steadily dwindling tin in the tiny kitchen area. For certain I am rather spoiled on the comforts I am used to, but to be fair I would probably be more amiable to this whole experience if it weren’t for the fact that for the past day and a half I’ve been surrounded by whispering tendrils of seething shadow. They tug constantly at my awareness, teasing the edges of my consciousness and distracting me from my focus with my darkest though
((Yeah so, I don't really post my pictures very much because I'm a lot more self-concious about them than my writing. However, I've been ordered by Iloam that, "Okay you HAVE to post THIS one," and since I'm not too embarassed by it, I suppose this time I will.
Yeah, Ael is praying at dawn, and stuff, and Iloam sees her and he's all, "Oh. Wow. Praying chick, all sweet and priest-looking." So he does the stalking from the shadows roguey routine. It's a thing. *nods* Don't worry, it's cool. She doesn't mind.))
For almost twenty years I've served the Holy Light. Which, to be fair, is not a very long time compared to many priests of equal or greater standing within the Church. With the Second Virtue being Tenacity, training and ordaining Priests of the Light takes decades. However there is one thing I possess that empowers my will, and that is unshakeable faith. I believe - no, I KNOW - with utter conviction that the Holy Light is real, it is viable, and it is available to all living things. Its power is obvious even to those who have no knowledge of it. If one inspires positive emotion in another, are they not then more inclined to react positively towards the other in future circumstances? Is that not then a connection? Does that not encourage greater connection? This is simple, common sense; so of course I have absolute faith in the power of the Holy Light. To reject it makes about as much sense as rejecting gravity.
It’s morning and birds are singing outside my tower suite. A lovely spring breeze wafts in through the open glass doors, toying with the curtains and making them dance in the sunlight. For my part, I am tied to the bed. Alas, it is not a sex thing this time.
“Not that I have any problems with MAKING it a sex thing…” I tease suggestively as I grin up at Iloam. He glances at me as he untied the knots binding my wrists, then lowers his gaze back to the knots with a scowl. His long, nimble fingers tug, then pulled the silken rope away from my arms and tossed it onto the floor. He doesn’t answer me, and, unfortunately, doesn’t seem inclined to take me up on my hint. Admittedly, last night was pretty awful, but I had been hoping he’d be glad to see me in such a good mood now.
My fingers trace along the edge of the page as my gaze skims over the printed words. There are numerous records of runeweapons breaking off within a warrior who faces a Death Knight. There are just as many records of what happens to such victims; some healed, some died, some took their own lives before becoming another tool in the hands of the Lich King. I am not certain how Ivor became so mortally wounded, but every bit of information can only help me save him. Every cure I notice, I write down to come back to later. It helps to have something to think about, helps distract me from the sadness that seems to weigh heavier and heavier on my heart. Why am I sad? I think that frustrates me the most. I have no idea… well. I suppose I have some idea.
She falls, like a leaf plucked too early from a sapling, still green and strong as it wavers in the air for a moment, then drops heavy with the weight of life and light. She falls, and the power she had only seconds ago pulled into herself from the warlock’s pain fills me, just as warm and bright. I drank deeply: I had to, of course. There’s no telling when I would return to her, and I must be prepared for my journey.
My vision was quite distorted, like a shaken picture, but it wasn’t as if I had a notable scene before me. I was staring down at the slow creep of my blood sliding down the channels in the stone floor I knelt over. Under the ruins of my battlerobes, my chest throbbed with what would be pain if I hadn’t used it as mana instead. Likely I would be unconscious from the pain if I hadn’t done so; a heart is simply not meant to take so much punishment. As Rameikos’ attack ended as soon as Adalynn barreled into him in the form of an unnatural bear, I was finally able to focus just enough to grasp my own will and send warm pulses of healing renewal to my wounds. Unfortunately, the feeling of warm light rushing over me set my mana-infused senses off, and an involuntary moan of pleasure rippled from my throat as my body spasmed with waves of orgasmic ecstasy.