She opens her eyes. The sky is hazy. Overhead, seabirds squawk with the lapping waves. A residual salty aftertaste leaves her mouth feeling dry. It takes a moment to rise, adjusting her strength to the light-weight chainmail covering her body, her clothes underneath, wet against her skin.
The breathy melodic notes of a flute playing echoes through the rolling green and silver hills one last time before lowering the thick wooden instrument and turning the fox-helmed ranger’s attention down the western road into the eerily silent Silverpine Forest. As she and her wolf companion trot along, Silent Fox’s eyes keep careful watch of the tree line along the highway while her mind mulls over troubling thoughts, a common practice as of late.
‘The missing child, the mail bombings, nearly dying, nearly loosing The General, shadows of doubt hanging over whom I can trust...more than ever now that this bomber knows my birth name, perhaps knows I am the Fox of the Blackened Woods...what would I do if they tried to blackmail me?’ She bites her lip and crinkles the skin between her eyes. ‘Lord Maras is already beginning to suspect there’s more to me than a simple gardener.’ She recalls how quickly everyone strapped armor on over their pajamas when Miss Tess threw the enchanted bank bag down onto the floor when they came across the demons hiding in a secret room behind one of the bookcases in her Manor. She had hesitated, waited for everyone else to suit up before she approached the bag. None of them had expected her to fight alongside them, but when they charged into the demon’s lair, she quickly grabbed her bow and provided backup by continuously pelting arrows into the fray. It had not gone unnoticed, nor did the looks she received from Maras and Sindrasa escape hers. She was unsure if Synn had seen, but... ‘Synn is a warlock?’ Ari had never realized until that night and it made her uneasy.
The winds picked up and dragged her robes behind her, silken cloth beckoning to the rolling waves as they crashed against the iceberg. The frozen chunk of splintered ice served as a backdrop to the farce of a play that Avaraelia and Synn were acting out. Synn stares across at the Felsworn with a bit of amusement,
“May I see the letter?” Synn extended a hand and Avaraelia advanced towards her, handing her the parchment. She quickly scanned it. “Aelberyn huh, the Bishop sending mailbombs, you realize how ridiculous that sounds right?”
I want her.
You can’t have her.
“Princess Mishia Nightfina Mirkblood
Wayfarer’s Ret Inn
My Dearest Darling Mishia,
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.
The motorcycle roared to a halt in front of the shop, engine dying as the elf riding it shut it off, pushing the kickstand down. He walked into the shop, saluting the shopkeepers who waved idly back, then walked up to the apartment. No one in sight, Tiradell shrugged, beginning to loosen the harness holding his sword to his back. The familiar, comforting smells of their apartment always helped him to relax and put behind him the stresses of his duties. The smell of last night’s fish lingered faintly in the cooking area as he walked over, a small bowl on the wooden table holding the single remaining fruit from last night’s dinner. He smiled, eating it swiftly. He knew he was lucky; usually Kagg would finish off all the fruit.
It hadn't been that quiet this evening, as Adalynn watched sparse crowds. Pale blue-green eyes flickered back and forth in quiet boredom. So many shows they put on, these elves and their counterparts. She hefted her laden bag of supplies, adjusted her goggles, and made her way towards the repair shop to pick up a few more bolts, odds and ends. Crossing the entrance of the large city, she came across an unusual woman and her conversation companion.
Seven was approached by Irihapeti who had spoken to her before about protecting the Sin'dorei. Although her methods were counterintuitive, she could see the value in her end result. Seven was naturally suspicious of her words and even more of her veiled threats. The undead elven woman was confusing and incapable of being direct. Before she had finished spouting her ideals to Seven she left just as quickly as she had arrived.
Sindrasa began discussing her upcoming wedding with Seven and how she would like her to attend. A local engineer struck up a conversation about the wedding invitations when a metallic construct charged down the street towards them. Akrish prepared herself as the other construct stopped and declared its intentions, "If you will not join, you must be terminated." The metal skeleton fired a volley of arrows towards Akrish who dove out of the way, but took a few arrows to the leg.
I mind you least of all, out of the others. You care for him; it is not your fault he does not share your desires. We orcs are short-lived compared to your people. Perhaps in fifty years or so he will have changed his mind.
Be careful that you do not make your move too soon, however. He is still mine.
“You’ve become wise in a short time,” he said to me a couple nights ago, a smile of gentle pride in his voice. “Now we just need to get you to stop worrying all the time.”
As night grew deeper over Quel’thalas, I could not help but vaguely wonder how Maras intended to accomplish such a thing. Wisdom can grow with experience and knowledge, but the wiser I grow, the more worry I seem to acquire. In the quiet parts of my own mind, I could not help but imagine this would be one enemy my champion would not conquer.
The pen was mocking him; Tiradell was sure of it. He sat there, looking between the pen and the paper. This was always the hardest part of the week; thinking back to make his report. Sometimes it was easy, merely informing General Sunlash of his observations and what had been done. Other times, it was like composing a song, delicate and complicated. Tiradell sighed, then placed the pen down against the paper, writing out what came to mind, his memory flashing back to the events of the week.
It was quiet, now. The last echoes from Sindrasa's agony from the attempted purging had finally faded with the arrival of the dawn. Now, only the soft and rhythmic breathing of her two companions kept the small elf company in the lonely hours. Silver-blue eyes drifted to a nearby chair, clouding slightly in thought at the familiar and pale figure still seated and bound by shackles.
Sindrasa. Sindra. Sinnie. Sin. Friend...Sister.
The two had hit it off from the moment they had met, Sindrasa's cheery nature meshing instantly with Raeril's naturally high levels of energy. The surprisingly younger woman had reminded Raeril of her own sisters, so vibrant and full of life, and it had hurt more than she had thought to watch the Bishop and her husband channel Light into the dark-haired woman.
Quiet and stillness were their only companions in the room. Drowsing on the cushions across the room, Tiradell looked over at Raeril, now in a natural sleep across the room. He could feel his jaw tightening and his hands clenching as if seeking to grip his weapon. It’d been a long night for everyone. His memory wandered to the week’s events, thinking of everything that he’d need to report on. It was almost time for that again. Every week he made his report, he thought to himself, the General’s going to have my head for this one. Every week seemed like some mad goings-on that he was ill-equipped to handle.
It was always hard to tell whether she was smiling or not; Fyodora didn't have much in the way of a face left. The harlequin pattern of brightly colored cloth patches and stitching revealing little of her emotions when she made an attempt, and the empty sockets of her eyes didn't help. Fyodora looked around at those gathered in the old Brill graveyard, the heavily-armored warriors, massive weapons at their sides or backs. Other in their robes or light clothes, eyes narrowed, hands empty yet still betraying the position of their weapons.
Weekly report - Aug. 10 - Aug. 15
Tuesday Aug. 10 - observed the Felsworn gathered around a cart; discussion seemed little to do with others, mostly of others within their own circle, personal difficulties, and playful banter. Did notice an open box within the cart filled with weapons and tabards. I was unable to identify the pattern on the tabards. There was also a sealed lockbox, was unable to see what was inside. Later in the day I followed Avaraelia, overhearing her advising an orc who was following their ways asking for instruction in wielding the fel; she instructed him to find a warlock. Shortly thereafter a young girl, very young, approached Avaraelia and informed her that on her mother’s death, she had been instructed to follow the Felsworn. I attempted to dissuade her, but am unsure whether my attempts were successful; her name is Lunaliska, her mother was apparently a mage of some power, who has recently died.
The musty walls of the dank inn she currently resided in forced Syn to reassess her situation with an alarming amount of clarity. Such perceptions were usually reserved for days spent in the beaut of Northend, traveling through the high acrid plains, where it lungs burned from the sharp cold air and the veriest amount of breath could trigger a soft escape of steam.
Due to an extreme amount of sleep deprivation couple with her unwillingness to meditate her mind drifted most dangerously to the edge of reason as she pondered recent events. She strokes the soft cloth of her gown, a most practical color of muddied water, and rubbed at a recent blood-rust colored stain with a slight frown etched on her features.
They say that the student must one day surpass the teacher. That through careful lessons and gentle attention, the student will overcome their own limits and go on to bigger and better things. But when the teacher goes away, the student left behind can only hope that she learned her lessons well despite how few they were. She can hope, deep inside, that somehow she had truly surpassed her teacher, and creator.
For the first time, I think I understand what he felt all those months ago. The contemplation of methods and flows of energy, knowing instinctively which threads to tweak and which to let be...the worry that the process would not go smoothly or worse, backfire on us...the bated breath in the pause between the end of the ritual and seeing the results...and the swell of pride as my creation opened her eyes and smiled.