“What are you?”
Accompanied with the metallic taste of my own blood, the velvety smooth promise of acceptance is a mite bitter, like salt on a cupcake.
Red velvet cupcakes, or the chocolate ones with the pink icing that Xiuhteena serves at Fancy Cakes.
This is good, this remembering. I'm a pretty, dainty brunette, sitting on the stoop enjoying a cupcake, elf-watching...
“What are you?” Xannivard's voice is like thunder rolling around me, through me.
The cave was bigger than he recalled. He knew she wasn’t coming back. He had sent her to live her life. He didn’t know who he was before, but he had enough guilt to last him six reincarnations.
The faint scuttling of a crab breaking ground nearby fills his ears, eyes darting to the roar of the water rushing inside and sucking back out again.
He waded out into the water. The bubbling rush of salt stinging at his eyes as he sinks below, there was something there at the edge of the distant seascape.
It was a line. It was… Faye.
Faye waited for him there.
The letters are printed on white parchment with an impersonal ink press and dispersed to the remaining family and a Ms. Shaye Silverhart, as specified by the Marquis previously. The envelopes are cheap and flimsy; which Darroc would have despised.
“… I want us to serve the Light truly,” confessed Darroc to his wife.
Marchioness Zalinara Dawnfire looked out of place in the sweltering room. She was diminished and small next to the garish design of bamboo knickknacks and potted trees that lurk in the corners of the humid Inn.
That was nothing compared to her face.
Shock, horror, fear… It was all there.
Commander Dawnfire was drowning his sorrow at the local officer’s bar, Twin something. His smile for the voluptuous Pandaren serving him was charming and irreverent. “Lili was just about four feet… It was hard for her to climb that waterfall,” he winks at the server, his voice teasing. “I just helped her up the hill, it wasn’t a big deal,” he says modestly.
The curved server gives a soft sigh at his ‘heroic’ descriptions and refills his glass without charging. “You Dawnfire-chan, are why I am glad your people came to our lands!’ she enthuses. Darroc smiles at her before catching the clusterfuck of papers that explode to his left; like one of those confetti poppers gobbos sell. He could smell her. It was Faye.
The scent of roses broke through the bitter salt of the ocean air.
His fingers close around reddish gold strands that rest on the pillow besides him.
Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. ~ Sigmund Freud
Every intention that he possessed fled at the sight of her. She did not resemble the woman he loved in any physical characteristics, but the earmarks of it were there. A piercing here or there, the subtle slope of her back that bore his sadistic mark and the most telling was that rounded belly that fit snugly in her leather tunic. The flashing eyes of an angry and wary victim.
Faye was back.
Shaye was being a bitch to him. She was pregnant and being carried by some no-necked geek with a red ponytail and a goofball expression. Silvermoon’s finest was wearing on Darroc in a very smallish sort of way. A smallish yet frustrating way.
For the first time since she'd died, she didn't need to use a dreamless sleep elixir. Tonight, she lay down with the taste of his lips still lingering on her own – the crush of of his body against hers as they traded apologies, sorrow, regret, forgiveness, and atonement.
Their rendezvous at Fancy Cakes replayed in her mind as she cuddled with her diminutive calico for the first time in months, back in her apartment. It was good to be home for once.
Then the girl whined about her fuckin' hangover the next morning. She was going to have to realize that he wasn't some mushy sort of guy. He wasn't goin' to wait on her hand and foot. Hadn't she grumbled about not wanting to be worshipped? Well, that sure as hell wasn't a worry she needed to harbor.
He slammed the medication, and the glass of water on the nightstand, “You make a mess, you clean it up.”
thadum thadum thadum
My heartbeat slows gradually, and I listen... a quiet staccato drumbeat against the lyrical whisper of the wind up here, punctuated with the sharp caws and cries of the black-winged birds that whorl and dance through the clouds.
My father never called it this. No one ever did. It was His tower. His escape, his risen dais over the vista of his carefully carved out domain.
The screams had faded to soft whimpers and Zalinara smiled at the disfigured wreck that had once been her rival. “You’re dying, you know. Slowly.”
The woman murmured something she could barely hear.
“Mercy? There is no mercy, and no hope either.” The warlock held up a shard of crystal that glowed with a sickly purple light. “This is a bit of your soul. Once you die, we can start all over. And over, and over ...”
“ … and finally, we would like to extend our best wishes for His Lordship’s safe and triumphant return from fields of glorious battle.”
Zalinara blinked, momentarily panicked by the realization that she had not heard a word of the man’s address. She smiled at the delegation and inclined her head with a regal motion, using the time to recover. She was in the Morning Room, not her work room, and they were presenting a request for something or other.
There were a few things that existed in Darroc Bastion Dawnfires world that absolutely infuriated him.
For example, he was not overly fond of Garrosh Hellscream and his heavy handed methods of dealing with the Alliance at the moment.
He was not a huge fan of gnomes in any way shape or form. Which is precisely why he refuses to go the tailoring shops, despite the most obvious reason being that clearly he has no business being there, he was a noble.
The most recent thing that irked the absolute hell out of him was his ex-wife.
It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. - Talleyrand
Zalinara, Lady Dawnfire, looked over the garden - her garden - and frowned while she sipped her tea. On the table next to her lay the morning's correspondence. Darroc's letter was oblique but she was skilled at reading between the lines and by adding his information to the other despatches a picture emerged. Theramore had been destroyed by some sort of magical device. Horde casualties had been heavy, both in the preliminary fighting and from the bomb itself. The information led her to one inescapable conclusion:
Garrosh Hellscream was a fool.
Not that she would be foolish enough to say it out loud. But a delicate hint here and there would be dropped, enough that those who mattered would know where her loyalties lay.
Darroc furrowed his brows – the name didn't mean a thing. He would file it away for later use, though, undoubtedly.
"No, no, your words are rote. Typical for a feverish fantatic in the throes of wicked bliss," he leaned further into her, enjoying the shift of her weight.
"Listen to the raven call the crow black." She'd snapped – he'd constantly been enthralled with one warlock or another, hadn't he?
"Sierra lost her light you said?”
“Whitedawn, your presence was requested last night at my quarters, yet you failed to make an appearance. Care to try why that is? I am feeling patient.”
Of course he had the nerve to walk into her home, and make demands. He always crossed lines. Drew his own. Fine – Xannivard had left the paladin with one word in particular still ringing in her ears: revenge. Darroc's sudden, over-powering presence was like trying to put out that fire with goblin rocket fuel.
A lot of elves struggled with addiction after the fall of our Well. Many recovered in time, while others became the wretched – with a mind focused on nothing more than their next hit of mana. Just one more arcane shard. Always just one more.
While I'd never quite become a wretched, I did starve for quite a long time. The hunger consuming mind, body, soul. Every movement sluggish, moods snapping, constant cravings – a hunger that no food could sate, muscles jerking and jumping – loathe to obey the smallest of commands, your mind wanders – reality and illusion are difficult to discern as time meshes it all together.
His men were demoralized. It was a mask that each wore in turn. Soul-sick and weary, the fine lines of disgust and self-hatred that eats away at a soldier’s soul. Darroc Dawnfire had seen it all before in previous wars, in his own brothers eyes, hell, even his own reflection at times.
“May the shadows guide you where the Light cannot touch.”
“And may the Light guide you where the shadows dare not tread.”
Her seer's blessing, and hers in return echoed in her mind...but it was a blinding rage guiding her now, as her sword stuck in the wooden practice dummy. She'd almost cut it in half, that time.
“Like a bloody lumberjack...”
The morning sunshine filtered into my office as the door opened. My wedding was days off, but the preparations for war stood a close second in importance. I was content to let Lina handle the wedding, but my impending unit needed to be dissected for residual weakness and filtered before I left for Hellscreams post.
“You...want to transfer to the Farstriders?”
She didn't even know if it was possible. Judging from the way her battalion commander's face was turning a shade of fuschia, maybe it would be easier to just submit paperwork to try and resign. But it was war time - like they were going to let a valuable, capable soldier slip through their war-machine?
A...re-allocation of Sin'dorei forces might could be arranged, though.
TELL me not (Sweet) I am unkinde,
That from the Nunnerie
Of thy chaste breast, and quiet minde,
To Warre and Armes I flie.*
Zalinara sat on the balcony and watched the sun rise over the Dawnfire estate; her estate in a little under two weeks. It was an odd thought. As a girl, she had rebelled against her family's plans to marry her off for property and politics, a rebellion that had led her down dark paths, and now she was making a far better marriage than her parents could have hoped to arrange.
Somewhere in the recess of memory, a time long forgotten.
Gazing at the soft baby blue skies up above as Delphas leaned out of her window still, she couldn’t help but smile musingly. Hearing the soft, distant peals of the bells being carried by the wind, the Paladin took her time, resting against the railing of her window.
I could barely see the goblin out of the haze of smoke. He wore a very distinguished top hat that looked at odds with his tiny features. His nose was long and crooked, not a very confidence building appearance by a trustworthy account. Though perhaps that was the point. He wasn’t trustworthy, but he was afraid. That would have to do for now. Turgen Spigglebottom reached his small green fingers up to pluck one of my offered cheroots from the box with a pained judiciousness that made me smile. He was afraid of more than just my sudden appearance. He was afraid of losing my business.
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.
Candlelight caresses the room around me, bathing it in the soft glow that often accompanies a dream. The way things had developed lately, I felt like this was a dream. My real life seemed to fade away with each passing day, led more and more toward the precipice of the surreal.
It was dawn and the hues of scarlet and yellow pushed through the violet haze of twilight receding. The dawn was my favorite time of day. The birds had not yet awaked and the faint hum of insects and night creatures filled the glade that my mount picked through with ease. We had traveled the roads between the Dawnfire and Whitedawn estates regularly enough that I could let me thoughts drift with ease. Matthias was marrying the heir of the Whitedawn estates and I was supplanted in my father’s affections for my weaker brother. It was my punishment for choosing to become a Blood Knight.