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It's good to see you here on Moon Guard and I've enjoyed reading the stories you've posted. You've always been one of my favorite writers/roleplayers and BoA is fortunate to have you.
<3 Thank you. *hug* I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, but I'm glad that we're still friends. And I'm glad you're enjoying my stories. :-) I know I've enjoyed my fair share of reading yours--even if you can't post all of them here. *grins*
In spite of our past differences, we did share some good times together. <3 Maybe our paths will cross again one of these days. But for now....
(posts a story)
The Iron Fist
Katryn stared down at the parchment on the desk before her. Written upon the page were the words of the girl who had given up her love for her brother in order that she might remain within the camp.
Katryn had no illusions with regard to Llyrae, though. The girl was intelligent, and this latest move of hers would serve Katryn and her brother well. At best, they gained someone whom the people trusted--someone who could allay their fears and assure them when they needed reassurances. At worst, Kat and her brother would have plausible deniability should people be upset, their grievances gone unaddressed, and they could blame the girl for not bringing the matter to their attention--or simply let the people do that for themselves.
In either case, the meeting served only to benefit the Blood. When and if it proved a problem, Katryn could ensure that it was no longer seen as such.
Katryn's gaze turned to a hat that sat upon the desk, as well. Her features softened for a moment as she regarded it. She then sighed and turned back to the work at hand.
She moved the People's Council announcement to a stack of other papers to be filed away and returned to the Palace for her father's perusal and returned to looking through various recommendations for those people seeking to serve the Blood as Lord Talwind's personal food taster.
It did not take her long to narrow down the list to three potential candidates. She then stood from the desk and called in a guard to have the three summoned to the camp.
In spite of Alezander's trust in the Lady d'Tanien, Katryn had no such feeling for the Lady. And with the recent announcement of her engagement, and the hastily arranged marriage which would take place at the end of the month, their quartermaster wasn't exactly being subtle in her power plays. And knowing that, Katryn wasn't about to let her hire someone to taste her brother's food.
No. That person would be loyal to House Talwind, and House Talwind alone.
Testing the Mettle
Katryn stood on the quarterdeck of the ship, looking out over the camp. She was grateful for her cloak and hood, as the temperature had grown colder again, and the wind was relentless as it blew in from the ocean. But these quiet moments, the man's hat in her hands, gave her a kind of peace.
She had hated having to send her brother out to look for a woman who didn't truly deserve his attention, but if the matter were left in the hands of Lord Draeus, it would likely have gone much worse. Her talk with her brother the night before reminded her why what she had done was the right thing--even if no one else could see it. And although she hadn't found out what her brother and Gethen had argued about, she found herself silently grateful to the creature for having done so.
Her brother was not infallible; none of them were. But she had a feeling that whatever the death knight had told him, it had been the right thing to say. And there were few enough people her brother respected to do that.
That Saryhn had convinced her brother to go had served her plans, as well. The woman had wondered why Katryn hadn't done the convincing, and Kat had been cold in her reply. Even so, the desired result was gained. Saryhn was seen as an influential force within the camp with regard to Alezander, and in time that would serve them both well.
And Avellia Daris was once again shown to be the steward of the Blood--the bearer of tidings from the Lord Commander. That, too, was as it should be.
Sighing she turned her gaze away from the main fire--everything as it should be. The only superfluous piece of the whole affair was Katryn--the Lord Commander's sister. She was the epitome of indifference; she was the cold wind to her brother's amber wolf. And once he was married, the wind would have to fade. She had accepted that, though she worried about whether or not Saryhn would be able to do what was necessary when she was gone.
Alezander had a good heart; he wanted to believe that people knew and understood what they should be doing--that he had no need to scold them or remind them of their duty. But Katryn knew better. People tended to forget about the overall picture if they weren't brought to task from time to time. And either Saryhn or Alezander would need to learn to be that taskmaster. Otherwise....
Katryn frowned as she swept down the stairs to the main deck before heading down to her brother's office and her temporary quarters for the time being. She called in a guard after her and wrote out an official statement that would be presented to all the guards within the camp.
Her brother might have thought it a good idea, but Katryn wanted to assure herself that it would be done.
Let her brother be the kind hero in the hearts and minds of the people; she didn't care that she would be painted the villain. Some things were necessary for the survival of an ideal, and she would make sure those things were done.
Cold the wind
And cold the heart
That cried upon the ocean shore
While moonlight caught
In ceaseless waves
That died upon the ocean shore.
Dark the thoughts
And dark the sky
That dwelt upon the weary world
While stars conferred
Their ancient light
That knelt upon the weary world.
And sad the soul
And sad the eyes
That set aside a lover's troth
While sea gulls sighed
Through nighted skies
That left astride a lover's troth.
And now alone
With dawn's approach
(Beating of the water-heart)
I leave behind
These bitter words
Forever more to part.
Llyr heard her breath coming in ragged gasps as she knelt on the ground in agony. It was the third time she'd let Father Carres break through her mental barriers, and the pain he used against her was much more effective in these trainings than it had been in the past.
If the last hour of their training sessions was not spent just trying to undo the injuries that were caused during it, she would have returned to camp looking far worse than she did each evening.
They'd begun traveling to Stormwind each day, their lessons conducted deep within the Cathedral in a room that was usually reserved for interrogations. The first half of their lessons were spent in teaching Llyrae how to craft the horrors of the mind. It was something she was, she found much to her dismay, rather good at doing. But Father Carres demanded near-perfection from her, and so that usually took the better part of the day.
The second half of their lessons was devoted to mental training and warding off the effects of the shadow magic that her teacher threw at her. There were phantasms of the mind, a simple little spell that made the nerves twitch and twinge like they were on fire (or being pricked with pins), but it was the last spell, the one he had just used upon her--that she always had trouble preventing. Father Carres called it the "Pain of Death". And it felt for all intents and purposes exactly like it.
Abram sighed as he let go of the spell, and Llyrae slumped to the ground, both grateful and physically exhausted. The worst thing about the mind was that it could actually manifest the sensations of pain into actual instances of it--leaving welts, bruises, burns; you name it, the mind could create the look of it on a person.
"You still haven't found a way to block me from doing that," her teacher remarked, his words neither chastising nor touched with compassion.
And for a moment, silence reigned between them as Llyrae relaxed and worked to recover the mental barriers she'd learned to create during their first lessons.
It wasn't that it was difficult to create them, but maintaining them against an onslaught of power such as her teacher's was never easy. That this had been the third time usually meant they would stop for the day. Her ability to maintain mental shields wasn't perfect, and Father Carres tended to push them to their limits as much as possible. But three, he would say, was a good time to end things. It had made their first lessons relatively shorter, and their continuing lessons longer as she learned how to withstand his power for longer periods of time.
"Do you fear death?" Abram finally asked once she was no longer struggling to catch her breath.
Llyrae thought about this for a moment and then asked, "Doesn't everyone?"
She sat up and brushed a hand through her hair, moving to sit on the ground rather than try to rise for the time being. Her body was far too tired for her to try that just yet.
"Not everyone. No," was his reply. "Death knights, for instance, have all ready died. They are the dead among us. And many of them seek a second death--so that they might find a purpose to their existence. It's why you see so many of them on the battlefields." He paused then for a moment before continuing. "Fear of death is a powerful weapon, however. And you are right in assuming that most people fear it." He paused, and she could feel that he was looking at her; so, she raised her gaze to look back up at him. When she did, he finally imparted something to her that he had not before. "The fear of death can actually cause death. It is a very potent weapon in the shadow mage's arsenal. But," and here he held up a hand, "it can only be used effectively to kill someone once they've been weakened beyond their mental threshold." He then added, "It is also why I never use it with you beyond a third try. For, in spite of your mental capabilities, a fourth time would likely actually kill you."
He then held out a hand to her. Taking it, she pulled herself to her feet and let him help her to a chair. And then began the arduous process of healing. Carres always seemed to have trouble switching from one type of magic to the other, and Llyrae had made note of it during their lessons. She often wondered if that was why he separated her time spent with working shadow magic and her time spent protecting against it as he did; for, at the end of the day, it was usually she who did most of the work of healing herself. It was, also, she realized, part of the reason she was always so exhausted after their lessons.
While she healed, he spoke with her. "I want you to think on why it is you fear death, Llyrae. They say the key to mastering fear is to understand it. And perhaps if you understand your own fear of death, our lessons can progress to the next stage."
She paused in what she was doing to look at him, nodding her head. "I'll think on it, Father," she agreed, then returned to healing her wounds.
But she knew all ready--each mention of death evoking in her that first ambush in the Wetlands with the orcs when they lost their wagon--and she her music box. Their attackers been looking for supplies more than to kill, and while Llyrae, her mother, and their guards had lost a few of their number, hiding behind that wagon and having to watch people die in defense of it had left a darkness in her--one that she couldn't shake.
It had been worse in the Algaz Pass--their small party set upon by another band of orcs perhaps related to the first. Their party needed to get past their orc attackers, and it was only by the guards sacrificing themselves that Llyrae, her mother, Oaklen, and the other two men who came with them managed to escape. She'd heard their feral cries of defiance against that horde as she fled toward the tunnels and safety, but she had also heard them stop--caught in the midst of that defiance. And though they'd told her not to look back, she had. And she'd seen them, her father's people, lying dead on the ground, trampled underfoot as the orcs advanced and surrounded those who were left.
It was what had prompted her to take up training in the priesthood. Being able to heal people--to restore life to their bodies, and to eventually be able to call their spirits back into them--had filled those dark places within herself with something more--with hope.
And now she was being taught to kill.
And that scared her more than anything. Having the power of life and death in her own hands wasn't something she'd wanted. It was why she found it harder to cast the spells Father Carres was teaching her--and why those lessons seemed to take twice as long to progress as those when he was training her mind to withstand his assaults.
She feared being able to kill someone. She feared it far more than dying herself.
But that was something to share with him at the next lesson when he asked.
And something she knew he was going to force her to overcome.
And that, she supposed, was something she feared even more; for, once you learned how to kill someone--once you'd taken that first step, how far would you fall before you stopped caring about life at all? How easy would it become to simply turn to death and killing?
As they parted from their lessons for the evening, she found herself pulling her cloak more tightly about herself as she headed toward the mage district and the portal "home".
But try as she might, she couldn't get away from it--those shadows of death in her mind.
I read that one word, and my mind conjures up images of our journey to Stormwind, my hunt with Lord d'Tanien and the others, and of that near-fatal avalanche in the pass when we traveled out to secure the Lady d'Tanien's return.
But it also now conjures up another image for me: having to take someone's life with the new power I possess--a destructive power that is meant to enslave, weaken, and ...in short, kill.
I find, ...that it is the second that scares me more than the first.
And then there is the disappointment--in myself. No one really cared about being able to voice their opinions to the Noble's Council. In fact, out of all the people at the camp, fewer than 4 in 100 voted.
The people seeking to voice those peoples' opinions didn't even try to meet -with- the people to get them to talk or to share anything of themselves with them. They just stood there--expecting other people to do all the work for them.
And I find myself both angered by this, and grief-stricken by it.
Is there so little passion left in the hearts and minds of people? Have they lost sight of the possibility of hope? Or do they just feel that no matter what they do it isn't going to matter in the end? ...or do they really just not care--living out their existence from day to day, content that they have enough?
I wanted to change things, but I am beginning to wonder if one person can truly change anything--if the course of life is so set out that people will not look left nor right, but only at what is straight in front of them--forced to acknowledge it because it is there.
And it is these last thoughts that sadden me.
One part of me is just saying, "Give up. No one cares." And another part of me is saying, "Don't give up. People want to care, you just need to show them why it's important to care."
And then I am left to wonder--about my dreams--about how orchestrating a terrible thing might prove a better lesson in teaching people than trying to convince them that caring is important.
But haven't we all seen enough of that? Haven't these wars been enough? Or have they simply eroded away what little hope we have left?
Perhaps the Scourge has won after all.
Or perhaps the concerns of the people just aren't as important as ....everything else.
But I don't believe that.
I will try to do better.
Standing on the Precipice
I stand in the shadows of worlds;
I am; and yet, I am not.
I see only darkness, but there is no fear;
For, I am. And yet, I am not.
There are voices calling out--near and far,
And I yearn to answer them--to help them;
But I am set upon the point of a sword.
I can neither go forward, but neither can I go back.
Here, adrift in the realm of all that is possible,
I am waiting.
For what--I do not know.
But it is not yet done.
Another letter has been sent to Commander Arlen Locke and reads as follows:
After a careful and thorough investigation following the events of the disappearance of the Lion's Pride, we have concluded that the ship has vanished without a trace. We are, as yet, unable to explain this; however, the few mages we called in to investigate the matter say that they found slight traces of Nether and arcane residue in the air near where the ship is said to have gone missing.
Their conclusions, and our own, along with our inability to find any trace of the ship itself, are that something occurred to that ship in the sky that defies our ability to explain it.
We will continue to pursue this matter as best we can, Commander Locke, but for now, our resources must be turned toward the campaign upon the shores of Pandaria.
We have presented this matter to the Kirin Tor, but with the recent upheaval within Dalaran, there is no way of knowing when they will be able to deal with the situation. And as matters progress with regard to the Thunder King, Lady Proudmore's attention has been centered on the Sunreavers. And you know how very much we need such allies at this time.
Suffice to say, ...we are sorry for your loss, Commander. But the battle continues. Know that we shall continue to search for answers as we are able.
OOC: *sighs* So...this is just to get our recruitment thread back to the front page. I would like to have some relevant writings here, but I just haven't felt much like writing of late. Certainly hope that will change. <3
I share the darkness with only shadows--
Dreams I used to dream, and loves I used to love;
And each day, your face grows fainter--
The reason that drove me to these flawed people.
He asks me to consider the people, and I have;
Why would they stay if they have no love--no belief?
He tells me I should listen to the discontent around me,
And I hear it; I hear it, and I wonder why they stay.
All the little strings that tie us together, and then I see that face--
That dead man's face. And then I see you--the body we never recovered.
She never recovered, and I was left with all the anger--all the pain--
While she sat alone within her shadows--dreams she used to dream, loves she used to love.
He asks me why I'm still here--after hearing all the things I've heard;
He wonders why I am leaving the people to choose their own fate,
But I have tried--tried to give them hope, and they do not want hope.
They want the shadows that linger; they want the victim's pain.
And so that is what I will give them--this shadow dance.
Let them find their own way, as I have found mine.
Let them languish in the moment, if they cannot see beyond it.
Let them stay or let them go--but do not think I do not care.
I have had to bury shadows in my heart--because that is all I have.
I have had to find my own truths--make my own choices;
I have had to trust in others; I have had to hold on to faith;
I have had to believe that all this darkness--all these shadows--are but a cloud that passes to let in the light.
So why can't they?
Why must he look to me for all the answers, as if, somehow, I were less flawed than he?
As if this man we follow is somehow less flawed than they?
He asks why our leader does not listen to his people; and yet, I wonder if his people truly listen to him.
Why do I follow?--because he chose to lead.
He chose to do something I have wanted with all my heart to do,
But did not have the power to achieve; he chose to bear a burden
That I couldn't even begin to shoulder. And yes, he's made mistakes.
But then, ...so have we all.
Night watched as Sylbor walked out into the darkness and rain before her attention returned to the fireplace. Her journey toward the isle would begin tonight--alone--no others having offered to join her for the venture.
But then, ...Night preferred working alone.
As she turned away from the fire and headed for the door, a shroud of shadows dropped over her. She disliked her whereabouts being known, and this would save her the trouble of having unnecessary rumors circulating throughout the camp.
Once more outside, the rain came down all around her; she disliked the rain. It made the ground soft--making it nearly impossible to hide her tracks. But it also made it difficult to see them for the time being. Down along the coast she went until she came to the shack with the boat that she hand Meyer had rigged with explosives.
She quickly disarmed the trap, then untied the boat from its mooring, jumping nimbly from the dock to the boat before she curled up down within it, letting the shadows fade from around her.
Taking up the oars, she began to pull the boat out into the lake. It was far better to travel at night--under the cover of darkness and rain--even if it would take her a little longer to make it to one of the smaller islands near to the island keep. From there, she'd keep watch from up in one of the trees and get a bit of sleep before day.
She'd then swim across to the island come evening, under the cover of shadows, and reconnoiter.
With luck, by the time she'd hoped to have help, she'd know what they were up against--and she could then return to the camp to make a full report. Granted, she wouldn't be able to do anything to help their situation, but she would at least let them know what they were up against.
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