She was asleep, finally. Couldn't blame the poor thing after all she'd been through in the last couple of days. Kharris was clinging to Iloam, her hair spread across the pillow like a flood of ink. I drew a blanket over the pair and went in search of food; Elune only knew when the last time the two of them had anything to eat. As close as I'd been to both of them, there was something there I couldn't share. Maybe that was a good thing, maybe some things aren't meant for sharing. I'd seen the same thing flit across Ixinane's face during the exorcism. It occurred to me that maybe I'd been a little unfair to her. Didn't mean I liked or trusted her, but everything I'd heard about her had been from Kharris; who might be a little biased. Just a little. Not that I could blame her.
My focus wasn't really there when I followed the blood elf in. Ixinane shoved open the door with all the assured and controlled anger she could muster, but I wasn't particularly interested in admiring the way her hips swung or her fel magic roiled off in waves.
I had rather a more important task.
In my full battle attire, I bodily hauled a Scourge death knight I'd chained. He was light. He'd refused even the death coils I'd offered him for healing, so his arms were in splints under the bindings. His saronite had been stripped from him and sold to a merchant at my orders, and he was clad in no more than thick fur padding. Tattered at that.
I was reasonably sure that even if he did somehow break loose, I could control him. The difficulty was in the restrictions placed upon me; not actually destroying him. As with my means of controlling the possessed rogue, it was an arclight spanner thrown at a mechano-hog, really.
(( I feel it's important to mention. This is, as always, HIS point of view. His vision of things. The internal monologue, the first person I use in most of my blogs, are my way of showing that it's what he perceives as the truth, not the truth itself. I apologize if I ever made some think otherwise. ))
In chess, the final stage is called the end game.
There are only a few pieces left on the board and the pawns, ordinary foot soldiers in a game of powerfull knights and bishops, suddenly become very important.
Sometimes, a game's outcome resides on a single pawn.
It seems easy enough to see life's challenges as chess games.
Each situation brings you a different game, to which you have your pieces to play.
But the trouble with chess games is that it dosen't take into account the player's frame of mind.
((Three letters and two packages travel through the mail))
I often wonder if demons are really so different from us.
Everyone's there. Waiting.
Iloam's in the chair. I can see his heart racing. The pain of his wrists and ankles chaffed by the iron bands holding him down.
I do what I can. Ease his discomfort. A drop of water in a lake, compared to what's coming. I wish I could give him a taste from our session from last night. The boy has talents. I'll give him that. And his fantasy? Oh my. Ironically, all of the actors are in the same room right now. However, two of them want to kill the third one. Not the same conclusion to our session from last night.
My new shadow is by my side. No one questions her presence. No one cares I suppose. Of all the people in the room, I'm the least dangerous. And yet, I'm the only one the demon can't hurt. It's ironic.
The wretched newt was waiting obediently when I left my rooms at the Hero's Welcome.
The meeting with the demon Tithe had gone much as I had expected, he snarled, I bled and in the end I managed to weasel out the information I need and strike a deal with the hellspawn. He had given up how he had attached himself to Iloam, regrettably it landed on me. Once I had eaten Iloam’s soul, but even though I gave it back, the very act had left a rift in both his soul and my own. Tithe it would seem had hitched a ride on that rift. The thought it self made me shiver, if a demon could ride the rift in ones soul… what else could find its way in there?
My scowl returned as I left the Heroes' Welcome. Lord Vinguld's note had been alarmingly terse, just "I need you." and nothing more. He'd let me in on what'd happened, Iloam's demon had gone nuts and half-eaten one of Vinguld's toys. Then Drakys had made things worse by calling in Ixiwhatsits. So we had some problems.
First problem was disposing of the body. Normally, I'd have considered dumping it off the edge. Between the fall and the scavengers there wouldn't be much left by the time anyone found it. Problem was, the girl's father was a mage and we needed to make sure no one tried any scrying or other funny stuff. What we needed was a reason for the family not to look into things.
Nether-cursed wretched blood elves.
In the span of no more than a few hours I lost Isirami to a demon-possessed idiot boy whom my Kharris adores. Who ate Isirami for the most part. IN MY CLUB. Drakys's but still. Then attacked Drakys, causing me to intervene. The little wretch attacked me as this 'Tithe' AND as Iloam.
Now I have a blood elf trollop determined to go find a body for a demon - I'll not permit her touch anything innocent or living for that matter - whom my Kharris fears and hates. I have Iloam/Tithe tied up in the club's basement with Kharris hovering like the mayfly she rather resembled in the demon's laughing grip last night, and Light help either the elf OR the demon if they irritate me further, or it won't be the pommel hitting their fel-damned skull. I think Drakys is all right - I know my pet is not.
-Iloam is possessed by a demon.-
-He ate the daugther of someone important from the Kirin Tor.-
-The previous statement was not an error in transmission.-
-Ythgar has him in a locked room with Kharris.-
-Kharris has gone insane, as she continues to love him despite his new diet.-
-Their plan is to find a new host for this demon.-
-My plan was to tell the Kirin tor father of a half eaten daughter about Iloam, have them locked him up in the Violet Hold forever.-
-Ixinane has a plan to help Iloam.-
-I have decided to profit from her loving Iloam, and blackmailed her into providing me protection from her own vengefull wrath, along with Iloam's, in exchange, I keep the vial of blood from the man's daugther from ever reaching the Kirin tor's seers.-
Goldshire's sun was setting, the peaked houses casting long shadows over the dusty town square. Outside the Lion's Pride, raucous voices shouted encouragement to yet another pointless wrestling match between a hulking Kal'dorei fighter and a badly scarred Draenei whose eyes betrayed him as undead. Beyond the crowd, townsfolk walked here and there, finishing their business for the day, locking up their shops, and generally either joining the crowd, entering the taproom's pleasant confines, or throwing coins at a slender girl of elven extraction dancing half nude by the signpost at the corner of the square. As parts of the town dimmed, others were just waking, and with a laugh, wooden shutters opened on a second storey of one of the larger houses, a buxom woman leaning out and calling down to the assembled men. Her beauty spot was sliding into her ample decolletage, and her hair's brilliant red was as artificial as so much of Goldshire's daily facade.
The Warlock didn't like the idea of leaving the Warrior in light of what was radiating from her. But the quicker she left on her errand, the quicker she'd be back to talk with Theryl, before the red-head got herself into more trouble.
Celise traveled to a place where she knew the Nether was the most dense. Her eyes burned slightly as she stood there for a moment in hesitation as she mentally checked her bag slung over a shoulder. Feeling for the pendant once more in the inside pocket of her vest and finding it there, she took a slight breath and stepped forward. Anyone watching from a distance would see a dark cloud envelope her and pull her into itself like an angry lover.
The meeting with Theryl's friend seemed to have gone well, and in the end, the Warlock agreed to enter the Nether to retrieve Iloam, or at least try to. It had been a while since she was there anyway. The fact that Iloam wasn't fond of Warlocks could make Celise's task more difficult. The thought of it made her shift in her chair as she spoke with Kharris.
All through the meeting, Theryl hadn't said much. Celise had to intentionally focus on her conversation with Kharris because she was sensing something from the Warrior. She felt mixed emotions emanating from Theryl, but the Warlock's face betrayed nothing. She nonchalantly sniffed at the air more than once while at the elf's apartment, occasionally glancing at her friend. She'd not forgotten the word she'd heard her utter from afar, and it still left an unsettling in her stomach that wouldn't go away.
It's time to get out of the tub; skin's getting all wrinkly again. Not like there's much else to do but stare out the window. I'll give it a little and take another one, not that it will help. I ought to eat, but nothing wants to stay down. Sometimes, I just break down and cry for no reason.
I'm holed up in a hotel in Dalaran. A place I don't usually go, but it's private and they have all the hot water you want. Piped up to the room from somewhere and heated by some magic or other. Even have a thing where I can stand under the water and let it run over me. But it's not enough and not hot enough. There's no water hot enough to scrub this away. My skin's raw from the scrubbing I've given it. I shift a little and the hot water stings the marks he's left. The welts, the burns, abrasions, and bites. They'll heal soon enough; will I?
For weeks, I have watched. Silent even when my heart sings for him.
Months, I have waited. Still, though I am stirred.
Ich will dass ihr mir glaubt
I hugged my knees to my chest and watched Giles Jackson driving his flocks in for the evening. There was just the faintest bit of chill to the late summer breeze and a hint in the air that it might rain tonight. Out back of the Miller's house was the cowshed Pete and his brothers had turned into a cottage. He'd be there, bouncing Maybelle on his knee, waiting for me to come home. I shifted my feet, feeling the soft, sheep clipped grass between my toes. It was always like this here, just around harvest time in a little pocket of the Lordaeron of eight years or so ago. Just over the hills, the memories faded into the misty green of the Dream; only the road south lay open, running down to that November morning in Alterac where my old life had died.
Ythgar stood in the study at his townhouse in Stormwind. The servants were engaged in cleaning up what was left in his workroom, and he'd closed this door after tidying himself and changing clothes. Balance, after all, was essential. To do kindnesses, one should remember what one was, and refresh the memory should it grow dim, lest one begin to fancy oneself some shining knight again.
He knew full well he was no knight. The muffled screams from an hour prior, no more, had made that abundantly clear. The hunger for death coiled inside him was sleeping now, sated, and his older, darker hunger for power was nestled with it. As he carefully traced out the pattern on the floor - interesting how he had a marker. The last owner of this house still had secrets he'd not fully plumbed - he half smiled, fancying his twin demons curled like puppies in the ruins of his soul.
The wind off the mountains was cold, but bracing. I took deep breath of the fresh air and smiled as I walked after the Scarlet death knight who was trying to drag himself away from me. No need to hurry, he wasn't going far with a broken hip. Scarlet death knights. I made a face; what was the world coming to? The Crusade used to have some standards. And now ... now those undead bastards were everywhere, like Ythgar Vinguld.
The cold light of a Darnassian dawn filtered through the curtains of Celise's spare bedroom. She'd been glad to see me and I'd filled her in on what was going on. She'd agreed to help, now it was just a matter of getting her and Kharris together and figuring out what was up with Iloam. And that damn mage, still needed to find her.
At least the breeding rituals were starting to unravel. I'd tried one of the Nightsabre priestesses, she'd nearly fainted when I told her what I needed. Well, she was young and had flat out told me she'd no experience with that sort of thing; and still a virgin if the rumors were true, poor thing.
Rum was always her poison of choice. Tonight, for added punch, she laced it with a bit of mana. She’d smiled prettily at the barkeep, Dathri, to convince him to find the richest, strongest mana he had. Intimately familiar with the pattern on the single dram vial he'd passed her, her mind wandered over Fidir and his worgs and she smiled, sipping again and sucking the mage-conjured ice deliciously for a moment. The buzz of the mana thrilled through her tongue and she lazily blinked into the darkness of midnight.
Her tongue pressed liquid over her palate and she had a flash of loneliness for Ghurab’s jackal smile and laughter. She settled the glass against her forehead, sudden remembrance of the heat of the jungle making her skin flush. Her free hand settled delicately on the piece of paper on the table in front her of her, nearly hovering over the crude drawing so lovingly sent by innocence embodied.
I leaned against the doorway of a shop and watched Kharris walk away, hips swaying as she moved with her dancer's grace. It'd been good to see her again, I'd missed her cheerfulness and irreverence. Talking to her hadn't been so great. Well, the talking was okay; what we'd talked about, not so okay.
A man brushed against me with a muttered "Sorry." I flinched at the sudden rush of heat in my groin. Visions rushed to my brain; our naked bodies pressed together, kisses burning my face and neck, impaling myself on ...
Stop. Stopstopstopstop. I forced the images out of my brain with an effort that left me sick to my stomach.
I had to get this taken care of. It'd been bad enough when Kharris had mentioned Iloam, although I'd been able to hide that. I'd almost lost it when she mentioned Ythgar Vinguld.
She slept the way a kitten or a child does. She slept the way his daughter Yshka once had. The sleep of someone pressed beyond their controls and their ability to maintain barriers and defenses. He lay beside her, clothed, and moved only to tug a blanket up to cover the slender dark-skinned elf. Then again wrapped his arms about her loosely curled body. She mumbled and turned over, curling against him.
Impassively, he looked down at Kharris. At Kharris, an elf. Of the species he despised. The species whose daughter Visasti had unmanned his son and perverted him into a kinslayer. The species who'd borne Thienna, and Velion as examples of its might and strength. His lip did not curl. One who knew him might have been surprised at how assiduously he guarded her sleep, but they would not know him well to think so.
Vanity. Such an appropriate name.
Kharris grinned to herself, dimples peeking out in the quick flash, and turned her neck in the mirror. Her eyelids lowered, peering at the way the green ribbon pulled snug against her throat. A small pendant, no bigger than her fingertip, hung there at the little hollow of where her throat met her chest. Again the corners of her lips tugged up.
The deep green *did* suit her. She crossed her legs and leaned forward onto the little table, plucking up her kohl stick and touching up an eye out of habit rather than need. It was early evening, and the rest of the girls were filtering in with their somewhat sleepy eyes and murmured greetings, occasional bird-like laughter falling around Kharris like so much rain. These women were not much for the sun-soaked day, and it showed in their shuffles and the slightly rumpled look to them. Late to rise, later to bed.
The heat, ever so present.
Pearls of sweat fall off my body, landing on the frigid rocks of the Dalaran sewers.
A little hell fire I brought back from…well hell.
Another consequence of my return.
After the loss of power, the loss of my sight, what’s an eternal fever that won’t ever fucking go away. Nothing fixes it; best damn physicians can’t stop it.
It told me this would happen. Told me to find someplace cold, and stay there.
And so I made Northrend my home. Left my beloved Tanaris behind.
I prowl in the tunnels of the floating city. Like some insect living off a giant host.
I particularly love this tunnel.
I use it to smuggle the drugs that are so in demand in the club I’ll never own.
"What are the rules? Drinking, patrons, things like that." She leaned up on her elbows a little, still trapped under him, but not seeming disturbed by it.
"Drink or imbibe whatever you wish. Within reason. I am pleased to provide arcane powders and other drugs of your choice, and only suggest your indulgences cease if they threaten your health or performance. If you wish to bring patrons to these rooms, you may rent them at a small portion of your salary paid. This room is unavailable."
"How DO you accommodate all your ... friends? Easing them and giving them what they want. Surely some want want the same time?"
He smiled. "I govern all things with what I want. How do you harm a masochist, my dear girl?" he rumbled.
"I wouldn't know. Not a sadist." She grinned cheekily. "Tell me?"
He smiled slightly, waiting, letting the silence stretch. After a suitably long pause, he ran one hand down his chest, smoothing the waistcoat. "I am a possessive man. I am also an evil one. You came to me for more than boredom." he murmured.
Her fingers folded back down and a brow arched. "Why do you say that? You don't really know me, Marquis."
He half turned to regard her. "No? When I last saw you you had something very important to laugh about. Where is that thing to drive you to my temple of loss?"
"...Temple of Loss?" She snorted. "Some people enjoy life. Temple of Loss." Snuggling into the chair, she folded her leg across the other. "Just because you're dead and can't feel anything doesn't mean the rest of us wallow in brooding airs."