Her fingers raked through my hair, almost rough in her need.
“You knew what you were getting into.”
“You knew what kind of a man he was.”
I sighed and set my knitting to one side. “We’ve been through this before.”
The colors of twilight swirl and float about me in an array of fluid patterns that captivates and distracts me from the faint, irregular hum I can feel vibrating from within my core. As my eyes glaze over tiny winking dots of white fire fluttering about like lantern bugs across the darkened canopy above, I become aware of a flickering yellow light buzzing from within a doorway across the deck of the ship. With my gaze now fixated on this all too familiar light, I begin walking towards the open door, becoming more aware of my other senses. I taste salt upon my lips and smell it upon the breeze that hits my bare skin sending goose bumps rippling across unprotected flesh. A faint verdant breath seems to exhale weakly from the room before me, no more closer than a moment ago when I began to move my feet. Besides the buzzing light and low hum, my acute hearing picks up on a hypnotic, repetitive thumping against solid and hollow matter around me. I bring my focus back to my erratic humming to discover my voice, faint and unclear, but struggling to break free...to sing!
"Things are not always what they seem - the first appearance deceives many;the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden..."
Lily lay in her hammock, curled in the blanket that Aelberyn had gifted her. She reached a slender hand down to scratch behind her kitten's ears, smiling as the mottled calico purred loudly, resting in her elf's lap. She then slid her scarred hand behind her head -tugging her white-blonde hair out of her ponytail in a languid motion, catching Asarel's soft voice wafting out of her comm again.
The knight smiled to herself – this one made her think.
She liked that.
They are gone, leaving me with my Lady.
The boy sleeps I am certain. The servants have washed him. They will be returning from a day's rest I'd given them, weary of feeling like an invalid, weary of their whispers when I came to myself after a lapse of memory and mind.
((The following is written in neat, schooled script, but in a dialect of Thalassian letters unlikely to be understood by many. The book itself is small, with a dark purple leather cover and the initials KDB embossed on the corner. The entry is dated, and the latest in a series of other short, handwritten notes. Apparently, Kharris keeps a diary.))
~There's so much around me.
We dance and I watch them come together and spin apart. I can see so much from up here.
Hands touch. Smiles exchange. Feet are stepped on. A woman stumbles, her partner ignores it; a man has no rhythm, but sincerity, his partner leaves; and through it all, they put me up here. To watch and be watched. Costumed in far away affection and momentary interest.
I am not part of their dance. I am enjoyed, but not shared. I belong to the stage, not them.
The inside of the room the shadowy version of Aelberyn leads Kharris to is like all the other rooms along the corridor in that it is plain and unremarkable. The door opens to a small, wood paneled room with drafty bare floors and no afforded rug for comfort. The ceilings are high and the beams are bare with sloppy, white washed paint edging the heavy oak at the corners. There is a simple cot and a tall wardrobe. A porcelain wash basin sits on a plain chair wedged in the corner. A small desk with a single white wax candle that illuminates the room. But it is not the room itself that draws the eye - it is the first the smell: food. The sticky sweet aromas of cinnamon and sugar, fresh baked cookies and steaming, cooling cake. Flakey pastries and fresh, sweet citrus oranges. The carnival aromas of kettle corn and fluffy cotton candy. It is all there in the room, covering every surface and the floor, stacked deep on the desk, plates on top of plates - empty serving dishes and covered silver platters. And it's not just sweets, but the savory, wonderful scents of beef wellington and mushroom gravy. Fresh hot Yorkshire puddings and mash potatoes. Steaming, crackling sausages dripping with grease. Then there are the sounds in the room, the whirling of wind-up toys and the echo of a bouncing rubber basketball, the dry swish and thokk! of a cricket bat hitting a ball, the echoing of a boy's laughter as he pants heavily and plays a game of afternoon football in the grass.
Stardrifter. Stardust. Starwhisper. Mu'sha, it seems like everyone's either you or the stars. Even in name...
The balmy heat licked against her skin, causing a layer of sweat to cling to her slightly aching frame with no way to escape, the muggy time of day was to blame for the unpleasantness certainly. The day was dragging to a close and she awaited the cooler evening patiently. Lifting her arm, she wiped the perspiration away from her forehead with the back of her hand before using her fingers to draw the dark chocolate strands away from her eyes.
It was hot.
It was a couple days before they could return to the task; a couple days, and Aelberyn had almost gone elsewhere to get it done. The unhappiness and anger Kharris showed after looking into her mind was enough to make her realize that it simply was a terrible idea. What in the world did her friend see that affected her so badly, she kept wondering. Some dark secret? Something about Iloam? Some hidden personality trait? She wouldn’t have turned to Kharris again… but then she almost killed Iloam. Well actually, the fight was fairly even. He beat her pretty badly, but she WANTED to kill him. She could taste his blood in her mouth, and she craved it so badly. Aelberyn knew the thought wasn’t hers, knew she snapped only because of whatever was going wrong in her head. The problem needed to be dealt with, and Kharris was the closest one there. She wanted to do it, she told the Bishop sincerely. It would be alright. Kharris knew it wasn’t real, she assured her. And because she really didn’t have another choice, Aelberyn allowed it.
((I was feeling artistic this weekend, and was going over older sketchwork I'd done. Almost 2 yrs ago now or something, Kharris Dawndancer went for an audition at Ythgar's club. Ythgar was a very thoroughly undead man, and their conversation was frankly quite clinical once she succeeded at her job interview. At one point, Kharris asked to see Yth's deathwound, and I chose to draw that scene, and honestly, I loved how it turned out, but was terrified to colour it. After a very enjoyable time trying out colour theories on my tablet, and avoiding writing a syllabus, I revisited that lineart, and produced the following.
"If you're aware you're friendship... Then he is wrong. And that says something to me," Kharris says in an even voice to the figure of the human girl that walked at her side down the streets of a Lordaeron that no longer existed. "I'm not exactly sure what yet. But it says something to me. It may not be important. I don't think it is to the mission." Her feet are quick, sure, and purposeful in a graceful but ground-eating paced stride. Now and again she rubs both hands across her skirts again as her own thoughts go back to the mentally conjured image of her own husband. Her green eyes peer ahead, watching and waiting for some sign or direction that would show her what could possibly be amiss in the ever-changing mindscape within the Bishop of Silvermoon’s brain.
Something was wrong, and she didn’t know what it was, but it couldn’t continue like this. Her thoughts were all chaos and control was out of her grasp. Something was terribly wrong, and whatever it was had changed the Aelberyn into nearly a different person. She didn’t know where to even begin to fix it, but it had to be fixed. Her options were few, but she turned to her friends. There were instructions passed, ideas offered, but in the end she lay vulnerable on her large, soft bed in Uldum, staring up at the dark lashes that fanned over dusky cheeks as Kharris tightly held the Bishop’s hand. A quick sidelong glance to Kharris’ husband – to Iloam – sitting like a silent sentinel at the chair near the window and watching them both intently, then forest green eyes moved back towards the other woman’s face. Aelberyn took a deep breath, and sighed, and trusted, and hoped that Kharris could identify the problem… and wondered what she would see within the depths of her mind…
If you're reading this, then I'm already long gone.
"You're... very good at this." She was all leg, awkward, torn between indecision and fear, desire and trepidation. A challenge in her eyes, but with that challenge came tension.
"You are a mongrel dog among wolves!" Scarred snarling face glaring at me with hatred like venom dripping from his tongue, threatening, trying to bully.
"No other man makes me feel like yeh do.. like yeh're all I want." He stood in front of me, hands on either side of where I leaned back against a table, sipping mulled wine.
"He rescued the orphans from.... horrible situations. He actually didn't do anything with the cookies." I remember first seeing her, luminous eyes lowered, twisting the hem of a robe in her hands. So childlike.
"Your daughter was very lucky." Her voice a husky contralto, green eyes knowing, flush touching her cheeks, tucking that stray curl back.
Je suis un homme de Cro-Magnon I am a caveman
Je suis un singe ou un poisson I am an ape, or a fish
Sur la Terre en toute saison On the earth, in all seasons
“Remember what I said about predator and prey?”
The houses in Mar’at and Ramkahen were all constructed of the same white stone, with elaborate carvings on the walls and paintings on the floorboards. In this particular house, the tiles were patterned stone, set in gold sunbursts and the triangular symbol of the tol’vir. These tiles were covered in most rooms by thick, plush rugs of intricate woven patterns and myriad colors. And the room that served as the personal study of Aelberyn Bloodsword – that’s me in case you’ve forgotten – was no exception to this. The richly stained wood of my desk had been piled with books and notes, and the book shelves along the walls were by no means filled; yet. Give it time.
"Fear - jealousy - money - revenge - and protecting someone you love."
---- Frederick Knott - Max Halliday, listing the five important motives for murder, Dial M for Murder (1952)
The rag that was in her hand was the cleanest thing on her person, as Fox sat on her workbench within her shop. She made quick work of cleaning her guns, her pistols were always well taken care of and last in line when she cleaned her weapons. She finished the left one, setting it aside with a soft sigh, her head leaning back to rap gently against the wall behind her. Her temper was on a simmer compared to moments ago, the embrace of silence within her shop was what she needed. Work was what she needed... to keep busy. "Idle hands," Kharris had said about Bishop Aelberyn. "Idle hands," Fox muttered, looking down at her own, still smudged with grime. Yes, Adalynn Foxtrot needed work--or to murder someone.
My eyes drifted over the chessboard and didn't really consider them beyond a brief assessment of the end of last night's game.
I still enjoyed playing chess with Hugh, though I do wish that his excellent solution to my ailment hadn't involved letting some damned heathen entity reshape me to its liking. I'd won the game. I generally do. The image of Ythfas's first effort to best me suddenly arose, and I banished it with a snarl which tugged at my face and urged it to lengthen, to grow bestial. My second son and murderer. His head was not yet in my hands, my vengeance not yet accomplished to my knowledge. That still rankled.
I focused on the names of the intricate moves, and the urge eased.
Aelberyn Bloodsword, a sin’dorei noble from far north on a completely different continent, loved everything about Uldum. One of the things Aelberyn – that’s me of course - loved best was the breeze that came in from the lake and moved through Mar’at to waft into her open windows and lead the silks that served as curtains to dance in the night air and toy with the shadows. The frogs and night insects sang loudly among the swaying reeds and the scent of strange spices and exotic fruits from the market on the harbor found its way up to the top floor of my recently secured house in the tol’vir port city. I had been fortunate to do so before Ramkahen and Mar’at was bustling with too many travellers. Not every night, of course – it was hardly logical when my duties in Tol Barad and Silvermoon required me more often than not – but it was a place I had taken for myself and made my own, in a land that touched me in a way that could only be described as love at first s
((The following is Wezil's summary of last night's event at the Gin & Juice. The direct link to the Wiki entry for this night is here, complete with photos of the event...
Standing here on a cliff in Azshara watching the stars come out, I might feel some sense of peace.
Synn looked around the Club, empty now but the signs of life were there. The opening had been a success, it was indisputable. The Convocate had even shown up. Andromalicous's appearance had surprised her but even he seemed pleased and had said as much. They had run out drinks and her staff had fucked off a bit towards the end, but luckily the stray mage, Garenik had stepped in. Khary had clobbered some noble, probably Lor, and Joyia and Cordozar had taken off to be alone. She was fairly sure she had said 'After' the opening, but whatever. Jericho was beyond high and absolutely of no help which was a disappointment but one she was willing to overlook. Until she saw him.
After watching Khary get shuffled off by Elreich, she saw the dark corner behind the alleyway and there they were.
((Hey everyone! Totally OOC post, but some people asked for information about the baby!
Let an unseen eye travel over the seated man in the study. Long neatly tied gray hair which holds just barely to a red-gold past. An acquiline nose, patrician and long, set between two eyes which burn with a pale blue unholy light. Finely arching gray brows above the eyes, lines traced between and around. Neither an old man nor a young, but a man firmly esconced in the later side of maturity. No coltish aggression here, but solid confidence. The invisible gaze might linger here and there, then note the figure's occupation. He sits at a polished dark wooden desk, one sword calloused hand stained with ink as he holds a quill with long ease, its tip scratching along a page of a leatherbound book. One candle flickers, guttering to illuminate his work and his face, painting him in relief and deep shadow. It is past the bells of midnight, but as seems his habit, he remains writing, having left a bed rumpled and occupied earlier, setting down thoughts as he has since a boy.
We've only arrived home from our weekend holiday early this morning, but I decided to come in to the office as some sort of show of support. I can't say it's a strong one, really. Mostly I'm a warm body and the lanterns are glowing, but I'm useless to any sort of actual work. Ace is in the lobby and there's tea and coffee brewing while she tackles the bulk of everything I'm not doing. There's all sorts of letters and scrolls on me desk to go through, and an unusual parcel wrapped in brown paper addressed to me from one Ixinane Stormcren. I'm avoiding that one.
The rain outside is keeping the office a bit chilly. I watch it come down sideways in thin, icy sheets of grey needles. The docks outside the window are slippery and miserable and most the veteran workers 'ave good enough mind to stand under Port Authority awnings an' nibble on hot fried sausages or chips until the dark, angry clouds pass over.
I pull me mechano-guitar into me lap and lean over briefly to flip on the amp. An electric pop fizzes to life and fills the quiet office with a low, expectant hum. Leaning back into the comfortable leather of me captain's chair, I cross me boots at the ankle on the windowsill and adjust the guitar to a lazy angle in me lap. Me fingers slide along the metal strings and pluck out a few tentative notes I've been putting to a song I've been writing off and on while my mind wanders away from the work I'm avoiding.
Moonlight and surf courted her on the waves, and her bare feet were wet from where they hovered and over the ocean’s chilly, tentative touch.
The beach was close, but each step took her farther. Bonfires from Shadowprey dotted the coast, their own shapes dancing in the brisk wind. They marked the town, but Kharris did not see them, her eyes were closed.
She was lost to the rhythm of the sea and the dance. Light skirts snapped around her legs but she was unhindered—she was dancing, her body would adjust. Her hair was pulled back from her face in four tight braids that hung down her back and with beads threaded in by nimble trollish fingers, clacking like conversations in a language unknown to any elven ears.
She was lost to the rhythm of the dance and it was the closest she’d been to peace in months. But it was not peace. Peace was an active process, in its way. This was something… blank.
((The events in this blog took place between late May and mid-June 2010))
The days after meeting with the Marquis Vinguld and Hakkajin to discuss how to save Faraji were mostly lost to me now. Most of them I ‘ave no recollection of at all. I had fallen asleep at some point, and the evil in Ythgar’s runesword had sank her hooks into me well an’ good – cracking me mind open and turning me into a babbling, Scourge-obsessed nutter. There were a few vague memories, but they might ‘ave been nightmares or just fragmented images still floating around in me subconscious. I thought I remembered seeing Ixinane, like an angel washed in red light, in a back alleyway that stank of rotted trash. I remembered countless days of fighting side by side with Ythgar in the frozen North, an army of death knights at our command as we pushed further south, slaughtering everything in our wake. I remembered falling asleep in his lap, me arms curled around his thick waist, as I let sleep embrace me.
The first solid, real memory in days was when I woke up. Me body didn’t ache with fatigue. It felt like I must have slept for hours an’ hours. I felt relaxed, bloody fantastic even. I was lying on sheets so fine that they felt like pure spider’s silk. The pillows under me head were as soft as clouds - enormous, fluffed and lightly scented with some sort of flower. The mattress neither too ‘ard or too soft, and lifted so high I felt like I could have been floating. I could hear birds singing but there wasn’t light in me eyes. It was as I lay there, enjoyin’ the quiet, that I realized it was quiet. The voices were gone. I let me mind wander, searching for them, purposefully calling fer their answer – but there was only the blissful, peaceful silence. Finally! Me lips had curved in a smile against me pillow as I stretched, loosening back and calf muscles that had been cramped with stress for far too long, when I heard the soft breathing in the room. Not asleep, just relaxed into a resting cadence. Deep breaths into a large chest – male, obviously – but so very subtly whistled through thin nostrils over mustache. Ythgar.
I feel cheated. Utterly cheated.
Imagine if you will- we've all felt it! - seeing some delectable cake. It smells divine. It looks like paradise made into something most palatable indeed. You pay your coin, you take your share, and settle down, looking thoroughly forward to how you KNOW it will taste. And you are betrayed. Chalky icing. Dry, barely swallowable stuff. How bitterly you curse the facade that led you to fancy and anticipate the sweet victory. You damn yourself in that moment for weakness, for wanting what could not be.
Hakkajin’ju braced her elbows against each side the tabletop, the chin in her palms dangerously close to scraping against the wood in misery. The smug face of Xiuhteena towered over the battlefield sketched out by the timber’s grains. Hakka drooped father on the table until her nasal cavities were digesting the scent of splinters. The opponent tried to persuade her, “Just kiss ‘em.”
“No!” was Hakka’s abrupt response. The retaliation had once been a lot more verbal and clever, but the constant badgering by Xiuhteena and her personal army the night before had worn down Hakka’s patience to think. In desperation to be free of Xiu’s relentless assault on her psyche, Hakka blurted out, “Joo go kiss Kharris!!”