The club's shadows and glares throbbed and pulsed as the beat thudded like a giant heartbeat. Here a green-lit face with eyes closed lost in the music, there a flash of purple caressing a coiled dancer. On elevated platforms, two beautiful women writhed, wearing something between armour and intimate apparel; form fitted metal catching and refleting the light while lithe muscles moved them in ways both sensual and utterly erotic. The floor itself was a mass of people, moving like undersea lifeforms in response to the pulses and motions of the music more felt than heard. Above, staircases led to elevated series of booths, most full of watching patrons, some sipping drinks, some merely taking a breath between bouts. One, in a commanding view, was distinctly empty, though some beautiful creatures lurked there as it waiting.
Thought I'd whip up some quick signage for Fancy Cakes -- Aestan's idea, really. Not my best work, but it does it's job. ;)
(( A letter and package Tywyll hands to Analuri on leaving Silvermoon for Thunder Bluff ))
No sign of her flashing dimples.
Who'd like to change the world
Who wants to shoot the curl
Who gets to work for bread
Who wants to get ahead
She's beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen her more lovely, no matter how hard she's tried. Seated in some artifical place, looking as if she were as artificial as her surroundings, I've never really understood the appeal.
Who hands out equal rights
who starts and ends that fight
And not rant and rave
Or end up a slave
I almost understood that dark hunger. That urge to swathe oneself in the falseness of the world. Act, and assume the same lie as everyone else. Kill and be glad of the twisting satisfaction that rose like smoke as I stared at the pathetic little corpses of rapists and drug-dealers.
Who can make hard won gains
Fall like the summer rain
Now every man must be
What his life can be
These things always start innocently enough – a letter, a whisper in the back of the pub, a summons. Could be any number of things, but its years on the job that send that spark up the back of your neck and give pause. Something doesn’t sit right and you know to walk away. When I saw that seal set into the wax – two entwined snakes vying for control over the other, the seal of Pox – I should have tossed the bloody letters into the sea and kept on with me weekend, perfectly happy to sack Troll villages along the coast of Stranglethorn and piss away the night with wenches and booze.
He's lying on a wooden floor. Those nasty, scrawny limbs are tied as tightly as a rabbit in a brace of them. His eyes aren't mocking me now.. they're filled with terror. I lean over him and grin. "Isn't this nice?" I hear myself purr, and I feel the hatred like the sweetest syrup in my mouth. Anticipation like honey.. like coppery blood. Oh, how well I know that taste thanks to him... I can feel the rough edges of the scars where he slit my cheeks as my tongue moves in my mouth. In a fast motion, I kneel, and slice away his nose.
There’s only three of ’em. Little suckers, go down quick. Faster when the ground rots and turns against ’em. No point in pickin’ ’em off one by one. Wastes time. So yah take ’em all.
But out here, three becomes six so easy when something else wanders by, and six becomes more iff’n yah don’ finish up quick. Then yer hackin’ away with the sword dancin’ at yer side and even the bloody-won armor can’t keep yah from feelin’ the blows.
The weather was perfect for scaling the ratlines up past the tops and well into the cross-trees, finding meself a nice perch behind the main topgallant mast. The winds were light and carrying a warmth from the rising sun that brought a sort of wanton abandon after spending the past few days in Winterspring. I’d left most my clothes, besides pants and boots, in my quarters and come up here while the rest of the crew rested for tea.
I took a deep breath, sharing the moment with a kit of pigeons that had built a nest amongst the shrouds, and could smell the aromas drifting up from the below decks: spices, lime, the warmth of rice, the smoky char of spit-roasted meats, and the sour tang of spilled ale seeping into our boat. I couldn’t help but smile. It was going to be a good night.
The breeze tugged at the parchment between me fingers, as if impatiently insisting I make the decision I’d come up here for.
“All right, all right,” I scowled at the wind, earning a flutter of pigeon feathers to my right. “Blimey.”
I woke up to the dull, wooden thwack! of training swords clapping together on the beach, punctuated with the rhythmic cadence of Macleod’s barked orders. The cadets must have been in poor shape that morning – the seagulls laughed as they swirled high against the rising sun. Their shrill noise bored straight down into my eardrum and I groaned, rolling miserably against the itchy, grey standard issue sheets. One of my bunkmates grumbled, driving her small elbow into my neck.
“You’ve missed the morning bell,” I told the heap of swirling, auburn hair. I couldn’t remember her name, but she’d reminded me of Theryl with a sunnier disposition and a weakness for brandy shots. My memory slogged through a hazy recollection of watching her dance on the barracks rooftop while we howled at the moon.
“More sleep,” she requested simply, barely getting the words out before her pillow began to snore.
I shrugged and turned to our other bunkmate, her smooth green skin stretched over a well-muscled back. No use trying with that one either. I checked her for breathing – a rather morbid habit that I’d picked up after sharing a soul for awhile with a warlock. A steady pulse beat against my finger tips. Satisfied, I crawled from the heap of bodies and padded across the barrack’s floors.
((Very mild warning: Christmas underwear!))
It was sometime last week I woke up, rubbing my eyes, in the rented room Shar and I share in Dalaran. The bed isn't that big – sized more for humans than for draenei – but we don't mind. Cozy enough for two, though I did take some care not to wake her, as the past night's work had been late and difficult.
I wanted to move about though, loosen stiff muscles, maybe go downstairs and order some hot tea. I pulled on my leathers and quietly left the room, stepping quietly in the cool morning. The sounds of my hooves on the stones soon blended into a thousand other sounds, odd for a weekday morning, and I couldn't help but boggle at the business downstairs in the common room.
And at the bottom of the stairs, I almost walked into a tree.
"Look at me, girl. What do you see?"
How maudlin. How pretentious. It served its purpose, I'll agree. The broken wretch began to find her feet again, and accept her fate. Her fate? Her destiny, perhaps. Reborn to be a weapon, and in her case all unwilling, she might as well turn in her creator's hand.
Yes, that served me so well, didn't it. Got me such a terribly long way...
Ah well. May she have some luck, the silly fool. And that paladin.. she seemed able to see beyond what her friend so obviously reeked of, and try and help her. How sweet. How terribly nice. I had not to laugh when she turned to me with eyes aglow, fairly burning with the Light, and offered to help me redeem myself too.
Has it really been three years I've been coming up here? Seems a lot longer in some ways, lot shorter in others. So much has happened in the last year, Pete. Yuta and the babies are fine. Almost can't call them babies anymore, toddling around and getting into everything. Talking up a storm too, even if none of us can understand it.
We have a place of our own now. I don't think Yuta really understands what having land means to the likes of us. Finally made use of that knighthood I told you about a couple years back. What'd folks back home think? Probably be surprised that Freeman girl managed to make something of herself. So now we've got land and tenants and all; made a noble of me despite everything. What'd they think of that?
It was a long flight to Booty Bay. Plenty of time to think, plenty of time to stew. Little voices in the back of my head kept telling me this was a mistake, but I ignored them. I usually do. I mentally replayed the scenes from the last few days as I flew.
It was all Iloam's fault. Nice being able to blame someone other than me for once. If he hadn't cut up Llew the Peacekeepers wouldn't have hauled Kharris in for questioning and .... at least she didn't blame me for Rowan's death.
Iloam was playing pirate these days, that meant Booty Bay was the best place to look. Baron Revilgaz still owed me a favor or two. With a little help from him and some gold in the right palms it wouldn't take me long to find Iloam. And then ...
Well, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
I'd spent the better portion of the morning cleaning out the hold of one of the three ships Captain Whisperwind had pulled off the Bloodsails. Originally I'd intended to trade them for something bigger on the black market, but word had gotten out that the girls were marked goods and I couldn't even sell them for gold. So a fresh coat of paint and a good clean out would have to do it. We'd avoid the Bloodsails wrath just fine - bunch of lazy gits anyway, couldn't sail their way out of a fish pond with a bloody map.
I'd picked the second largest of the three girls for me own. Not so small she wouldn't make an impression, but not so large that I'd have more crew than I could fill. I'd managed to get a rag tag bunch of misfits, pirates, theives, and wenches to fill the rosters - keeping most of the lassies for meself, of course. Not because I've got some deep seeded need to have a load of the fairer sex doing my bidding, mind you - they're quite capable of telling me to spin on it. No; I'd rather just have something pretty to look at if we'll be bobbing around the sea for weeks on end without much entertainment.
Up on decks they were putting a second coating of black paint along the bulwarks. We'd spent the whole of the day before painting until our fingers cramped and our throats parched from too much sun and salty air. In the evening we'd had a bit of our own christening - spilling ale and whiskey onto the decks as we danced, filling the night with music and singing, shagging until our bones gave out. I'd woken up with half me face coated in black paint - passed out against the bannister - and a wicked sunburn at the tips of me ears. But work was work and here I was, knee deep in a load of stolen treasures, sorting out what was salvageable and what was rubbish.
I'd found the lad not long before, stuffed up behind the bulkhead behind a barrel of pickled kodo feet. Wasn't much left of him these days, just a sack of bones and thin, papery sheets of skin. A crude kitchen knife clutched in his bony fingers seemed to be his only posession. The hole stretching along his cheek made it look, from my vantage point of sifting through a chest of Gnomish personal effects, that he was gazing at me with a perpetual look of astonishment.
((Cut for language))
Someone had heard the screaming. Someone had found the nearest authority figure ... me. I'd started barking orders. It had come full circle.
The room reeked of blood. Splotches of the stuff decorated the walls and the huddled figure on the floor. I knew him, I'd run into him at the White Hart, and I knew who had done this. "Sir Toilet" Iloam had called him. Seemed like a nice enough guy, but it was obvious he was in love with Kharris and him and Iloam had gone at it like two dogs snarling over a bitch.
This is your fault.
I pushed the thought to the back of my mind as I touched him, doing the best I could to comfort him and bandage his wounds. He was cold and shaking, shock setting in, not surprising with the blood loss. He tried to talk, blood leaking from his slit cheeks as the scabs broke.
You knew what he was. What he is.
Ice had seeped over his skin after the pain became a dull agonizing ache. It sank into his bones and he felt his feet rotting with the pain of the seared flesh and the slashed tendon. The bones melted into frozen blocks of throbbing hurt. The nails were lances of molten searing metal through ice and he fancied where he curled around them that his ice flesh was melting. The cold seeped across his slashed face, turning the heat to cold, the screams to moans. His temples danced to a low drumbeat he could hear somewhere in his chest and the ends of his fingers, but the walls and floor were expanding and contracting like jelly around him. The tears never stopped and he felt each one trickle into the wounds in his cheeks.. the agony of salt in bleeding gaping torn flesh was unendurable. He was in a vise of pain, but there was no one to free him. He was in a trap, but no gentle druid's hands would open the jaws of torment.
Funerals shouldn't happen on nice days. The chill rain of the past few days and the morning we buried Rowan was bright and sunny. Wasn't much to say; what can you say? Words fail at a time like that. Realistically, there hadn't been anything I could have done. The child had been born breach and the cord had gotten wrapped around his neck and strangled him. These things happened, about one birth in ten went wrong somehow; at least for humans.
But realism was cold comfort. I'd failed. Failed Iloam, failed Rowan, failed Kharris most of all. She'd asked me to do this and it had all gone wrong. Three lives shattered by my failure.
The moonlight streamed in on an angle into the dusty apartment. The single bed with sheets still rumpled from the last time Llew had slept in them stood on the wall opposite the window, where the light caught the shadowed shapes of fabric. The flat was small; a kitchenette with a single set of plates and two glasses carefully put away. Spartan, certainly - it was purchased for one reason alone, and from the unusued look, served it and little else.Llew's hand rattled the lock, and the door opened a little with a soft few words as he stepped in. "Kharris? Are you here?"
Llewellyn Brightcloud strode from the Scryer's Inn, eyes flinty. His fingers shook off the remaining snow of Winterspring as he gauged the time.. nearly midnight. A sense of futile longing and frustration rose in the muscled chest of the young elf as he eyed a goblin courier sidelong. Iloam... the rogue had been cuddling some night elf. His hand, Llew was certain, had gone up the woman's leg! It was unthinkable.. especially since as far as Llew could recall, Kharris was due... well, any time now! Which meant something had happened. Iloam had left her, perhaps.. what other reason could there be for an expectant father to be away from his beloved's side when her time was near.. or worse.. leaving her alone with their newborn son while he chased night elf breasts!
There is that moment when time stops. You’re going along mindful of yourself, keeping the nerves in check, playing it casual while you wear a bloody hole in the rug on the soles of your boots while you can’t stop second guessing if that name will really fit. Maybe we should have gone with something more traditionally Elvish, or something from her family, or thrown all that rubbish out and just picked something completely unexpected and gone with Gregory or Zul’arek. It’s bloody terrifying and exciting all at once, but in a different way than a good pirate fight or hanging by your fingers off some Royal’s terrace while her husband comes home. It’s different.
((Late post, should have been posted last Wednesday.))
She sits in bath water, now cold. The small elven woman has been staring dull-eyed at the rough wooden wall in the bathhouse for hours now. Her mouth hangs open slightly, slack-jawed. There have been no dimples on her cheeks in days. The light in her eyes barely shines, dim and sickly. Her usually animated features are quiet. But only close survey would show her lack of expression, hidden as she is. Shadows cling thickly to her, roiling over her in a miasma of uncontrolled power.
The early evening's a quiet time in Nighthaven, the Kaldorei are just waking up for the most part and the other folks, Tauren and Human mostly, are settling in for the evening. The sun's just about slipped away and Elune is up, just clearing the trees and about a quarter past full. I send a little prayer up to Her, just a few thoughts for Yuta and the babies and some for Kharris and her baby. That last bit'd probably scandalize a few folks, but if I've learned anything about gods it's that they don't fit into the little boxes we like to put them in.
I turn in the doorway to the terrace and watch the room; it's Kaldorei style, no proper walls, just screens and hanging and such. The moonlight coming in picks out little details in the room: the shimmer of Yuta's hair, a carved bird on Isabelle's crib, the shadowy figures on a hanging I brought back from Ironforge, my goddess' little idol sitting on its shelf in a corner.
I’ve been doing this for so long, I should have known when things were going well that my luck would eventually dry out. Stealing the reference books from the University library had been as easy as if I’d been knicking copper pieces from Grandmum’s candy dish. Of course, it may have earned me a spot of momentary popularity with the Bluffwatchers, but that would blow over in time. I still didn’t know how Artisania had fingered me for suspicion, but the old biddy was likely as paranoid as a kobold and named every bad seed she could possibly think of to bring in for questioning. A bit over dramatic for my tastes, personally. She had plenty of resources to get to me with just a little bit of effort.
Maybe that was the point though. To insult me. My name in bold inscription below Heulwen’s, posted in all the major cities of Azeroth; “…and Iloam Blacksong, WANTED, for questioning.” She was telling me I wasn’t worth it… her time or her primary suspicions. Smug old trollop.
No matter; the job had moved swiftly forward. My luck had continued after White Hart, taking Kaisienna back to Everlook with me for the night. Pretty thing, dark skin and big brown eyes, a curve in her lips that told me she didn’t trust me. It’s a shame I didn’t get to taste them, but fate had other plans. Her magics nearly sent me on a bender – I hadn’t had that much mana pumping through me since Shryn’dael fell off the wagon and dragged me down with her. But she’d managed to trick the locks open on Artisania’s carefully guarded secrets and I finally had a location, a solid lead taking me straight back to Silvermoon’s carefully guarded stacks.
Of course the Tome hadn’t been there. Lost once again in the annals of history and me back to zero. My luck had dried out, and all I’ve got riding on it is the last shred of my soul.
Liore sat on his bed, toes curled around the thick blue blanket that laid crumpled across it. His loft was dark and empty, only the lights of the Draenic rope lights and his bedside lantern to light the place in the late evening. Radiae snoozed beside him, gnawing on her knotted bunny in her sleep. His knees were bent, resting a book against his legs. A journal, to be more precise. A long Roc's quill was flipped between his robotic fingers, the joints giving off pleased whirs and clicks. He smiled idly, before reaching back to the shelf set behind him and dipping the end in ink. The hand drew precise, nearly identical copies of the letters on the handwritten letter guide next to him.
Rowan, 37 weeks
Strawberries--berries of any kind, actually. I'm going through pounds of them! I feel like a bloody bird!
Your father's voice--especially when he sings.
Hand-to-kidney combat--Ouch, hon. Ouch.
(( This Sunday!
At 5pm goblin server time and running until around 7pm server time, I'm guessing, I'll be opening the second "Black Farthing" RP night at the World's End Tavern.
Pop by to say hi, pat Kharris's pregnant belly, and taunt her with the alcohol she can't drink.
Intended to be a "quick, convenient" RP spot, everyone is welcome to just drop by, or come and stay awhile! ))
It's getting close. Laurai is about to pop; she's carrying her girl lower, you're tucked up under my ribs--making it damned hard to catch my breath! I like feeling you there though. Next to my heart.
Gods and goats, listen to me gush.
What you do to me, my little man.