“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!!”
Exarch Menelaous had met an old friend. In normal circumstances Ole Hannevold would have felt pleased for him, but in this particular case he was practically ecstatic.
((Unspecified day last week!))
Like so many city adventures, this one began with a window.
Your face appears again, I see the beauty there
But I see danger, stranger beware
A circumstance in your naked dreams
Your affection is not what it seems
My fantasy has turned to madness
All my goodness has turned to badness
My need to possess you has consumed my soul
My life is trembling, I have no control
I will have you, yes I will have you
I will find a way and I will have you
Like a butterfly, a wild butterfly
I will collect you and capture you
Looking over the Landing, perched in a tree. A bird. What kind of bird, though?
A Bird of paradise--An ornament? Preening and elegant?
A Songbird--Kept for entertainment? Hopping among perches to sing?
A Raptor--A fierce tool? Jesses on my ankles?
If I jump out, will I fall or fly? Doesn't matter. Cages.
My body moved like a machine as the recorders trilled, mind spinning and whirling. I touched wrist to wrist, met eyes, and let my feet shift and slide, the steps of the elaborate dance requiring little actual thought. The body remembers. My partners, all highborn Stormwind noble women, giggled and flirted, and I replied in kind, barely noting what sly subtle teasings I rumbled, shaping my voice deep and commanding, so used to these fine simple dances of word and glance and body that in truth, I needed no great conscious effort and could permit my mind to work away at recent events beneath the whine of women and the deeper rhythm of my own comments.
The bay gelding shuffles under me and snorts, still skittish from the strange weight on his back and the smell of blood. I pat the horse's neck and mutter something reassuring. His former owner, or what's left of him, is lying by the road a mile or two back.
Vinguld's chief gentleman-in-waiting bows from the doorway. "You asked to see me, my lady?" My relationship with the marquis' senior servants is tense. They're better born than I am and aren't shy about letting me know it. They're pretty subtle for the most part - like the man's bow, just barely deep enough to be polite, and nowhere near as deep as he'd give Vinguld.
I tap the box. "We've just had a threat against his lordship. Might be serious so I thought you should know. I'm having the house locked up tight and the wards raised."
We never do find a mage that night.
IN MY HOME! IN MY BEDROOM! Where my wife sleeps... and my children play with their toys. - The Godfather II
I can forgive a great many things.
There are things a man does not forgive or forget. Yet even in the throes of absolute rage, you have to consider every alternative. Every option. Will killing this man threaten those you love more than leaving him alive? If you let him live.. how to you ensure that it is your hand resting on the collar you strap about his neck?
I could have forgiven just the attack on my own person.
Recent events make me wonder how I have changed. Who I have become. How this world has changed, and I with it.
Tonight I sat at my noisy club in the belly of Dalaran. I drained every stored iota to do what I did to that warlock. I hope she's unaware of that - it's a limit of mine, and I don't particularly like enemies to know my limits.
Is she an enemy? I suppose that remains to be seen.
“I've seen enough.”
Cold wind whipped along the coast of Lake Lordamere, rustling through the leaves of the trees. Bellani had watched the pair, listened to them talk. Listened to the two of them dance around what they both wanted to say and lie about what they meant. They were both pathetic. The two elves sat on top of an old wooden storage shed at the end of a tiny pier. The red headed one who was all hurt and venom, throwing her cigarettes in the water in anger and disgust, and the dark-haired one with her dimple and her stupid bangles, who sat there with her hand on her belly just taking the other's abuse. Bellani couldn't believe that one of them was herself.
A few words can throw a bloke off balance with the same weight of a mace or great sword. Resulting in a stumble. A trip. A staggering fall.
When you’re outside the jungle and someone asks you to describe it, you’re likely to say “hot.” When you’re in the jungle and you want to describe it, suddenly your words get a bit more descriptive: “suffocatin,” “swelterin,” “blisterin,” “stiflin,” “mucky.” Un-bloody-bearable.
The sun was beating down on us so ‘ard I’m pretty sure me forehead was developing a bruise. More likely it was the fairly nasty beginning to a sunburn that would end up in even more freckles for Kharris to count when I got back. She’d be having a field day with me shoulders and the tip of me ears as well. I felt a bit like a wee peach that had been shoved in a wet, muggy oven – my soft skin heating beyond its tolerance and bubbling up. I’d be cracked and oozing in a few days, without a good spell or healing potion.
We were ambling along through enormous rubber plant leaves and swinging vines that brushed past our legs and shoulders as the raptor under us swayed through the jungle brush. I wiped the back of me hand over my forehead for likely the hundredth time that hour and it felt like I’d conquered Mount Hyjal in that single raise and fall of an arm. I bit back on the complaint about the heat that I wanted to pointlessly whine at my riding companion. I silently applauded my manliness in refusing to complain and then, as wantonly as any tartlette with a case of the vapors, leaned back against the enormous black Gurubashi pressed to me back. Balla’s skin felt cool and hard against mine and he smelled pungent – we both did – but it was somehow comforting. He smelled like the jungle; he smelled like sweat and sex and sun-drenched skin; he smelled a bit coppery and dirty from the grit of the ride and it was like laying against an enormous shadow panther. There were all sorts of nasties that could jump out at us at a moments notice and I should have had me guard up, but with him behind me, his arms circling to hold the reigns and his huge, bone tusks brushing affectionately against me shoulder as we rode towards Zul’Gurub… I embraced me inner dandy and laid back into his safety as me mind wandered over the exhausting events of the past few days.
At length, all was explained to him. What he had somehow known all along now had words to accompany, and the terrible weight of what he feared had settled onto his chest like some sort of… well… there really was no avoiding it, now… parasite.
What had lain dormant about his neck, just beneath the skin, was a system of veins and alien flesh belonging to an entity of the Nether, a slow rotting sucker that sunk a million invisible, tiny claws into his flesh and worked to drain him of every ounce of energy he possessed. It began first with his necrotic energy, the unholy force that gave him unnatural life. When this slow, even source was too little sustenance, it then fed on the energy other healers gave him in their attempts to ease his pain. That allowed it to swell and grow, growling and stirring in raw pleasure of an appeased hunger.
The rogue has trouble with jealousy. I’m not surprised but I’m shocked he even thinks I have any knowledge of this. If I was under Ythgar’s ‘’magics’’, I’d certainly be the last person to be aware of it’s existence. ‘’Iloam. Get a grip. No one’s doing anything of the sort. Kharris has not been exposed to anything she didn’t feel comfortable with. Ythgar’s not warping anyone. If anything, Theryl and Kharris bring a positive change to the rather dark ways things are done. And of both of them, only Theryl is truly involved in the Marquis’s affairs. She knew about the murder before my people told her. Which means he told her to take care of it. She came to my club and threw her weight around, saying I was to never again do anything without her consent or the marquis’s. I think she’s allowed to make her own choices, don’t you?’’
It’s mid-afternoon in. The rain is cold, the sort that makes people want to get off the streets fast or huddle under cloaks. Most of the guards stand under doorways and mutter directions to tourists with a sort of misery to their voices. The smells of warm Winter food, fresh bread and crackling meats pour from taverns and bakeries, as well as little tucked away shops along backstreet cobblestone alleys.
I’m walking about, the rain doesn’t touch me. A device that was gifted to me evaporates it before it lands on my person. Normally, people in Dalaran are mostly would be heroes, villains and other various people of importance. Each of them glows with their physical pasts. I see them through their experiences. Like a flow of moving pictures, moments where their sensations were pleasant, from a simple hug, a kiss, to their wedding night.
My participation had cost me. I stumbled out of the front doors of the club, catching myself with hands and knees on the cobble stone. The guards at the door paid me no mind, I was just another drunk patron and there wasn’t enough blood to be concerned about. Dalaran spun around me, blurs of colors, faces, walls I would collide into. I was disorientated, sick, fel raced through my blood like so much fire. Everything on me hurt, the teeth marks on my neck and collar bone and the deep slices on each palm were the leaders in the throbbing melody my body had become. Warlock magic is a fickle thing, one must give to receive, the only reason I was so dangerous is because I held no self preservation, I drained myself dry on a regular basis, laid my life in the hands of my magic, and would expel my very soul if it meant I accomplished my means. Just another half mad warlock…….