Journal of the Rising Sun Fellowship (IC #3)

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
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Merciless, you have risen
Fathomless darkness released
Unspeakable evil escaped this prison
The confines you mirror, to say the least
Kel'tira Sunblaze

The sun and birds in the Grand Exchange made for a marvelous late-morning for the paladin as she sat contently on the bench, watching the goings ons impartially as she let her mind linger over the morning. It was, she decided, a very good thing to have her husband at home, breakfast in bed and such just happened to be a perk, she enjoyed having him close on a far deeper level than the attention he gave her.

Her eyes were bright, the smile on her face sincerely happy. She looked... relaxed. A rose tucked behind her ear neatly, and her hands cradling a mug of steaming tea as she eyes the violet journal laying across her knees.

With a small smile, she flicked through the pages, and then closed the book, letting out a huff of laughter.

There were, she decided with a grin, some things you just didn't write about, even in your own journal.
I am hesitant to leave Silvermoon City, though I have no real business here. I wander the streets listening to the street vendors hawking their wares, and grow tired of the cackling of their voices. Chickens, they are all, chickens, and a wolf walks amongst them. They should be quiet lest they incur his wrath.

I find myself outside their hall many times during the day. And this time I walk in and look around within its walls. One thing I notice is that the shelf that held the guildstones is empty. I ponder the reasoning, and nod. One does not just leave a way for another to monitor your every word when speaking amongst your family.

Family...I have none now. I am the last of the line. And there shall be no heirs. I walked over to their wall of memories, and messages. And I can see that Jahana's name has been indeed added to the list of those that died serving the Fellowship.

I do not know why, but I remove my gauntlets, and my fingers move across her name...and there is a deep sense of loss within me. Sister, I barely knew you in this life, however you were a ray of light and laughter in my past one. I placed the gauntlets back upon my hands and stare at the name on the list.

Evening arrived and began to cast shadows over the hall, as I finally stirred myself to move on. There was nothing here for me any longer. I would go back out to the Outlands, and kill demons, many many demons for Jahana's eulogy...
I'm overreacting. It's not my fault, I swear.

To start out with… Crow left. He went somewhere with people who didn't want him for a good reason. He asked for me to keep it quiet for a few days. And I agreed. And I wept. I do not know if I will ever see him again. I reached out to him. I wanted to be his friend. To see him suddenly do this… hurt me.

I have his guildstone. I will not be giving it to Kel in a couple of days as requested.

Because I promised to not keep a secret from Ratheron. And he held me as I wept with my own weakness and inability to help a friend in need. And he held me. I do not know what was going through his mind. I still am not sure.

But he promised me that we would do whatever we could. He and I, we will try to find Crow. And we will try to help him. And I will give him back his guildstone. Ratheron promised me this. He would go to these lengths to help a guildmate. And a friend of mine.

And then he kissed me.

Ratheron, not Crow.

I don't know…

Why my head is spinning so much…

Is it bad that I'm starting to think about Shadowless, now? My fiance… Not a real fiance. Just a fake fiance. I never picked him. But…

Oh… I much prefer when I don't think. I really, really do.
The morning rose gloriously, the sunrise was a sight to behold with its rays of gold, red, and so many others in between. And let us not forget the joyous warblings of the songbirds, as they too enjoyed the beginning of a brand new day.

"A new day." thought Cyaer, as he rolled over to see his lovely wife sleeping so soundly, and he lay watching her sleep, studying the face he had come to love and adore.

Her face had character, yes there were a few lines to it, but she had lived a life of so much living. Sorrows, she knew them intimately, and yet she pressed on. Joys? One could see the lines of laughter and joy there too.

It was so difficult for him not to move so close so as to smell her breath, or to feel the warmth of her body beside his own. He wanted to reach out and touch her face, to feel it beneath his fingertips, memorizing each stroke and vibrant feel of her skin there. He knew this face so well, he had seen it, watched it, and kissed it tenderly on so many occassions.

She was and is so unique, it makes his heart ache for her to see her as he beautiful. She is a rare and delicate flower, that he tries to nuture and allow to be free and to grow. He is coming to understand her intimately and he finds that intoxicating. Her moods, her laughter, her gentle ways about her, and the caring, oh that oh so caring heart.

He has held her countless times as her tears fell, and she tries so hard to hide that wonderful woman she is inside herself. The love and caring she has for the Rising Son Fellowship, and the people that make it what is is. And he has consoled her, and he has listened and they have talked, and we try to understand. Sometimes it is easy, others times, not so much.

Kel'tira is so complex in the way she thinks and does what she does. For she is always thinking of others before herself. And yet, she is so simple in her needs and desires.

Cyaer thinks to himself, "I am but a simple man, but I do whatever it takes to make her happy. There is just something about seeing her face light up in a genuine smile, that nearly makes my heart stop, and want to make her smile that way again."

Smile for me, Kel'tira, smile as only you can smile, and make my day, my life...a song, with you as the melody.
Northrend was cold, the bitter winds caused the snow to drift. The one thing she remembered of her life was hating the cold. Why was she here? Oh yes, she was assigned to the underground network of operatives.

They had done unspeakable things to her mind, deadened parts of it so she could not feel emotion. Her training was ongoing, the Master who was in charge of her training had sent her into the Warsong Keep to look for someone.

She had found this Sindorei and his student. They seemed to be very close. Watching from a distance, Jana observed their manner. Monks, they called themselves. She was close enough to hear them call each other by name. This was the one she was supposed to watch. He was supposed to have taken over the leadership of the Rising Sun Fellowship.

She decided to join them if they would have her. It did not appear to be hard to get invited to this Fellowship. Perhaps that was the problem, it was too easy for someone to get in and subvert others. If the rumors were true she would find out. It was her assignment to watch them and help them if she could. Their ideals were honorable, but some of their members had caused trouble.

She would eliminate the troublemakers if she was ordered to do so. But for now she was just to observe and report. Her mind was her own, even if parts of it had been manipulated. She had the abilities to move unseen, to plant seeds of doubt and destruction in organizations if they proved detrimental to the Sindorei people. Or to eliminate individuals by means best left unsaid.
Tislina Dawnrunner made her way into the house she lived in with Xal, completely and utterly exhausted. She shook her head, her damp hair hanging in strands around her face. She didn't mind the rain though. In fact, she liked it. She glanced around with a slight smile. She liked this house too. Adored it, actually. Probably because it belonged to her and Xalandir.

She smiled and set her bag down on the table and sat down, then fished out her peacock feather quill and her journal. She flipped open the book and tore out a page. She thought for a moment, then began to write in her flowing script.

I know you're probably very worried about me, and I'm very sorry I worried you. I hope it will ease your mind that while you're reading this, I'm upstairs in bed more than likely asleep. So I'm home safe and you need not worry further. Truthfully, I've been so busy I ended up having to stay in Silvermoon for a few days. Oh, and I caught a cold. But don't worry about that either. I ran into Alex and she had Jeeves make me some delicious soup that I imagine will help. And now that I'm home, I can get plenty of rest. I just wanted you to know that I'm fine and that I thought about you everyday. In fact, I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you very much.

Sincerely, Tislina

Satisfied, Tislina blew softly on the ink and then left the letter on the table where she hoped Xal would see it. Tiredly, she went upstairs, pulled off her boots, and climbed into bed. And then she fell asleep with a sight smile.
I am not in love.

Love is beyond emotion. It is tenderness, commitment, the ability to accept what cannot be changed and to nurture what is there. Comfort, companionship, a deep trust which should never be broken.

I see these fears. In myself. I see them often. I cry. I allow myself to be weak. I do not see this as a bad thing. I believe firmly that if I continue to go forward, I will become stronger without ruining who I am. I believe I can live this life I have been given without giving it all away. Without donning a mask and appearing emotionless.

I do not hate that aspect of Ratheron. It scares me because I know that our paths are so similar. I could become just like him. I could become harsh and have to wait before someone gives me a reason to smile.

I gave him a reason to smile. I think that is why I was so scared and confused when he began to smile so much around me. I didn't understand it. And yet, even now, he only smiles when I give him a reason. He simply is more open about himself around me. And I find him far less harsh and intimidating.

In fact, I find his mind unique. He softens up with a bit of time. He doesn't tell me how wrong I am. He states his opinion and he is careful to not step all over me. I'm less afraid to speak now, and I do not see myself walking off in a huff again. Probably.

He can be adorable. If not, downright cute, when he relaxes. When he jokes with me, when he teases me. The damn man nearly killed me the other night, just tickling me! How strange it is to think that this man can laugh while tickling me mercilessly.

That he can speak his mind, that he is so willing and able to help others. I suppose I just see him in a new light the closer I get to him. The less afraid I am. The less reason I have to fear and the more I understand. And I believe that because I let myself wander this more emotional path, I am able to connect to him. Draw him in. Draw him back out of this cage he hides in so easily.

I am falling in love with Ratheron.

<Little stars and hearts are drawn in golden and red fashion.>

Today, I've taken training upon myself. Meditating on what I've learned and practicing my balance.

I'm soaking wet because I've chosen to do this on a boulder in the middle of a lake.

And I do not have very good balance.

But I am getting better. The air is not quite so frigid on the lower portions of Northrend. I let Ratheron move about as he will while working on finding this Death Knight. Perhaps I will get lucky and I will find him first. Perhaps he will walk up to me and I will make everyone proud and happy by defeating him alone!

Probably not.

People keep flying by and giving me funny looks. I try to ignore them, but it makes me giggle.

And then I fall again.

I think I'm understanding the concepts easier. Building my Chi, I am able to produce a heated breath, not just create energy! How many ways Chi can be used! Either to strike, to heal, to electrocute, to burn, to push, to pull! It is... Amazing. And to think that I create all of this within myself without having to rely on anything else but myself!

I am in love with this training. Truly, I am. It is fascinating. The Elixir has done me a great favor, for I often back peddle and try to wonder over what it is that I'm trying to understand.

But now that I can feel it, it doesn't matter so much anymore.

I'm having fun. I'm getting faster and I don't get hit so often.

And the hits that I do take, I find that I can use my energy, my Chi to build my strength back up quickly and dull the pains. Even heal some of the small damage over time.

I find that… I do not like conflict. I enjoy what I can do, but my strength is drained so fast that I'm often exhausted. I can run, I have stamina enough to keep up and Mistweave, but being a Brewmaster or Windwalking, I find it much more taxing. My hands are often left hurting, my arms and parts of my body I didn't even know existed ache, and I want to curl up and sleep for forever.

At least, when I do, no one wakes me up. I can sleep for however long I wish. No one bothers me. It's wonderful. I love living in freedom! Though I do wish I could sleep on a comfortable bed more often…
The written works of Jakota:

The Earth Mother has given me the gift of healing and I share it willingly for all. I have met others while exploring areas better done in a group than alone, and my gift has aided many while we move through the complexes.

I have talked with one Sin'dorei who calls himself Cyaer, and is an officer of the Fellowship. He explained the relationship of how the Fellowship is a family, and how we try to look out for one another. I detected the warmth in his voice as he spoke, and I believe I am where I belong, amongst friends.

I can only hope that I can aid those who need me, and aid the Fellowship in its growth and nurturing.
At long last, I've come to understand what it means to see. It is not about this sight, it is not about looking at a land and reading what it tells me. It isn't about anything to do wish vision at all, really. It is more of an emotion. An empathy. Perhaps I can only now begin to understand because my mentor finally spoke to me in words that I could understand.

While a mage would draw magic from the leylines and channel the powers through herself, it is nearly the reverse.

I am reaching out to the world. Listening, feeling, being… Letting myself sync with it rather than the other way around.

Maybe it is because we are in Northrend that I am able to listen to the land's pains. It is so cold here. Not a physical cold, but a chill which reaches down to the core of its foundation and seeps up into the marrow of my bones and pierces through my soul. A wailing, agonized pain. Marks left by Arthas' unholy reign which will take many a decade before it begins to mend (not unlike the Plaguelands!).

I have been warned against sinking in too deep. This world could overwhelm me. I understand the wisdom of this, and I wonder when I'll be able to read people just as well. But people are not like the land. They are not painted upon. They are deep and complex and ever moving. One shift in mood and I won't be able to figure out what their thought two seconds ago was! But I chose to take heart in what I have accomplished.

Baby steps.

Now is not the time to get intimidated by what I have learned.

No, in fact, I have been slowly increasing my stamina, my strength. I was to be a mage, not a warrior! This is hard for me. And it will take time. I cannot cheat. There is no Elixir of Ancient Muscles. My shoulder hurts sorely from getting too involved in a fight last night, but I stayed alive. I kept Ratheron alive. We, two, alone, bested the Amphitheatre of Anguish! I knew we could. I had to believe. And he believed in me.

And now we two have our agenda straight.

I will take head of tracking the Death Knight. I now know that he is apt at physically torturing (gulp), among other things. I will ask around. I might find someone who might know. If I find him… I know I shouldn't run head long into him. No. I will call for Ratheron. And we will end this.

In the meantime, Ratheron will be killing his brother, slowly. Carefully. I haven't the knowledge to do so myself. I haven't a means to get in, to get out, so this is a task best left suited to him, a man who knows what he is doing when it comes to handling something that could kill a Mogu. Whatever a Mogu is.

Once they are taken care of, we will begin our dedicated search to uncover the people who took Crow.

Wisely, I did not give Kel'tira time to dwell on this. I insisted that Ratheron and I had this planned out, we had a means to return Crow to us. Safely. I did not tell her that I wept in terror that we would fail. That I sobbed because I feared I had seen the last of the warrior. She does not need to know that. She is already too bothered. So I will let her come to understand something about me as fast or as slow as she pleases.

I get my way.

Ratheron is right about that, and I shouldn’t be too shy to admit it. If I want something, it is going to be mine. I am sick and tired of people pussyfooting around, sneaking, lying, manipulating. Maybe I'm thinking of Shadowless when I say this. Ah. Write it.

I wanted freedom.

I am free.

I wanted to become a monk.

Guess who gets praised for being a gifted Mistweaver and a half decent Brewmaster?

Even Ratheron figured out that he shouldn't try to make me take things slow. I have to set my own pace.

Now I will begin to take missions upon myself. I have claimed this one. I will show them that I can bring Crow back safely. I will bring him back safely. I will make certain that Ratheron comes home from fighting the Death Knight in one piece.

And then who knows. Maybe I'll try to lead the Sin'dorei to a new glory!

Because. Seriously. Everyone this side of the Portal is a bit touched in the head.
I am tossed on the weapons I should use in my forays into the Scar. I almost prefer the silence of the bow, as it leaves the target injured, and looking to see where the missile came from, before another hits them and on occassion, drops them where they stand.

However, the rifle I am using is so quick, and efficient. I have found that when the first ball hits them, they hear the report a few seconds later, too late, and they drop. But I grow weary of the smell of gunpowder, and loading the weapon so many times. I notice that Flit does not seem to care for the sharp report either.

Perhaps I need to go shopping, and find me a bow that will allow me the quiet of its draw, and less of the smell associated with the rifle.

The Ghostlands are an exciting area to explore and investigate. I have managed to stay away from the Scar and its undead that wander its confines so far, however I know it will be only a matter of time when my explorations will take me there. Flit and I will be prepared, and we will do what we must to be careful to survive there.

On another note, my dreams of the lord of the House continue to become, more involved. I think I need to find some form of release for myself, and forget Cyaer. I can only think that it would cause too much tension within the House for me to continue to think about him. Or to act upon them.

While I have only met Kel'tira a few times in the House estate, the rumors I hear tell me that she would not go easy on me, nor would I be able to handle the onslaught of her wrath. Besides, I have heard the staff and their whispers. Cyaer totes on his wife, and would not give me a second thought. Though that might make an interesting challenge.
They quietly walked the road to the Scar. Well, the young Sin'dorei huntress walked, her dragonhawk companion flew beside her, close to her shoulder. He chirped and growled to her as they walked, and she held a quiet conversation with him as they went towards the area known for the walking undead, and ghouls that inhabitated that reminder of the Scourge's attack on Silvermoon City.

The coppered haired woman stopped to gently scratch the dragonhawk's belly, and neck. He crooned and gently rumbled as her fingers found those spots he would never be able to reach on his own, and his eyes closed from the wonderful sensations her digits brought to him. She smiled up at his golden wings, and his closed eyes. She had come to trust and love this creature, and they had found a relationship that gave them both satisfaction and comfort of being near one another.

As Aristolyn and Flit went down the gentle hill to the Scar, they noticed the road through the Scar was twisted and buckled from their side of the Scar to the other side, and they walked careful as they sought their targets, the twin abominations that wandered along this stretch of the desolate bare ground known simply as The Scar. Aristolyn looked to her left and saw one of the monstrous beings staggering its way towards them.

Deep in his throat came the fearless growl of the golden dragonhawk. His senses detected death and decay that surrounded the entity, and his feathery fur rose on the back of his neck as he waited for his mistress' command. She held the rifle up and targeted the swaggering behemoth, and she stroked the tirigger gently. The loud report sounded and she saw the ball strike the undead creature, and she sent Flit to attack. The dragonhawk struck the creature several times around the neck and head, as his mistress continued to fire volleys of magically enhanced bullets of destruction into the large creature.

Flit moved back and forth, then behind the Abomination, leave great rips and tears in his decayed flesh, and he kept up his assault to keep this thing from hurting his friend, his mistress. Suddenly, a huge fist swatted the air above its foul rotted head, and Flit found himself fluttering towards the ground injured. As he lay there stunned, and the huge undead behemoth moved towards him, Flit could hear report after report from his mistress' weapon. And she screamed his name, as the gigantic creature struck him again.

Flit felt the pain of the second blow, and for a brief moment he fell into darkness as the creature picked him up to throw him towards the bank of the Scar. The continued volleys of the rifle struck the abomination over and over, and as it turned to throw Flit, its stopped and fell face down into the black infertile dust of the Scar.

Aris hurried to Flit's side, and tears filled her eyes as she saw the blood flowing from his nose, and the stillness of his body. She managed to move the large swollen fingers of the creature from around Flit's body, and she prepared the spell her mentor had taught her to mend the damage that Flit had taken from this monster.

Unfortunately, she didn't hear the sound of the second abomination as it thundered behind her, and struck her with its huge ham-fisted hands. She cried out and rolled into the choking dust of the Scar, dropping Flit and her rifle as she nearly went unconscious from the blow the thing had inflicted on her. She looked up into the grotesque face of the creature as it smiled down at her and rose its fists to strike at her once again.

As Aristolyn screamed and went rolling across the ground, Flit heard her through a fog. And he opened his one good eye and saw the undead giant moving to harm his mistress. Where Flit found the strength or the reserve to attack the thing intent on harming Aris, he will never know, but he attacked at its face and eyes, distracting it from Aris to himself. His growl was intent and loud as he struck the abomination over and over again, slowly moving it way from his Aris.

The huntress scrambled across the dust and dirt, and found her rifle. The monster was so close she could smell it fetid breath, as Flit flew around it head and face. She had never seen Flit so aggressive, and she fired over and over again into the torso of the great undead thing. She could hear the slugs hitting its body, and as it turned its attention back to her, she stepped back and continued firing into it.

Flit knew only one thing, it was focusing back onto his mistress, and he could not have that. Not caring about himself, only of her, he flew into the face of the abomination, and scratched and clawed at its face, taking out an eye, and ripping a lip off of the monster's face. The monster roared in pain, and reached up and tore the dragonhawk from its face, and then tore a wing from Flit's body, and threw the dragonhawk aside as so much trash.

Aristolyn screamed out Flit's name again, as she fired and cast her magic to take out this horrible mistake of nature. She stood before the giant, as she filled it with bullet, after bullet, tears streaking her cheeks. With all the damage that the dragonhawk had caused, and the volleys of bullets that struck its cold undead flesh, the abomination tottered then fell into the dust of the dark Scar.

Aristolyn gently lifted the dragonhawk into her arms, trying to cast the spell of mending on her friend, her companion, her protector. It wasn't working, her tears blurred her vision as she realized the final sacrifice Flit had made for her benefit. "Oh, Flit..." And she held him in her arms and cried at his death, and sorrow filled her heart and soul at the loss of someone so dear and close to her.

Oh, poor poor Flit...I miss him so. I feel as though a part of me has been ripped away from me. He was my friend and companion. What do I do now?

I shall go home and think about Flit and my future as a warden. I should have listened. Listened to my mentor and trainers. Don't become involved with your pet, it is only a tool to aid you in your work. But, buts, a tool, a means to an end...

My aunt does not understand my sadness. To her Flit was just a filthy animal. An animal? Flit was more than that to me, why doesn't anyone seem to understand. I feel so alone now. I spent several hours crying in my pillows, trying to think about Flit, and knowing he won't be there anymore.

Cyaer stopped by tonight, but I was in no mood for guests. They told me he wanted to meet me for lunch tomorrow. Now what? It would not do to miss this appointment, or so my auntie has been so blunt to point out. I hate that there are eyes and ears everywhere. Is there no such a thing as privacy? I will meet him, though I am sure it will be for naught.

Am I more sorry Flit is gone, or about myself? It's late, I'm going to bed.
The studio apartment that had been paid for by the gracious Sydric was quiet, except for the subtle scratches across the large sketch pad Neryth the Blood Night stood before. The pencils, and charcoal were what was making the scratchings as the tips of the pencils and pieces of charcoal moved across the paper. And Neryth, was almost in a trace, as his hand moved by its own accord and drew the basic form and lines of the person on his mind.

She had been his muse, someone that captured his imagination and inspired him in a way no other had ever inspired him. Whether it was that first time he had met her and sketched her sitting on a park bench, or maybe it was the stolen kiss that had sealed her forever in his memories, what ever it was she remained ever in his conscious thoughts.

The pencil lightly sketched in a woman's face on the paper, her dark hair spilling over one eye, as a seductive smile formed on her lips. Her head was slightly tilted on her graceful neck, and one could see that while she was not a truly beautiful woman, she had something that made you look twice. Not that she was ugly, oh, far from that, just a normal looking woman, with that spark of something extra.

Neryth looked at the paper as she began to take form there. Her eyes, oh how they sparkled. With mischief, and when she was with him, a desire, a desire to be with him and wanting to know him carnally. He smiled how she would tease him by disappearing then pulling on his clothes, and touching his face lightly, her light laughter in the air.

She wore nothing, but that seductive smile, and yet the drawing was not offensive, but rather a true study of the female body. She was not overly muscular, for she didn't work like that, but her body looked lithe and almost like a dancer's body. She had been a scout and knew all to well how to move with much agility and quietness.

He drew more from memory, but he had known her intimately, and knew the hunger and passion that she carried in her heart. As he filled in here and there, his hand never stopped sketching, and softly defining the body of his muse, and lover. He remembered her hands and how they felt moving over his own skin and muscles, and how her own body felt against his own. Their passions were strong and hot, and she often left him breathless and exhausted.

Their relationship had grown deeper however, as he came to love her for the woman she was, and not what she should have been. He had almost lost her to his thickheaded thinking, but in the end they had let their hearts grow warm and fond of one another. They felt the change of their hearts in the kisses they shared, the caring and love that passed between them, and he missed her when she was gone.

As he completed the drawing he looked upon his Jahana, his lost love. She stared back at him with eyes that had that hidden spark in them, while she looked over her shoulder. Her body was so well done, the muscle tones and skin, looked warm and inviting. He had captured that spirit of the young woman, in a simple, yet eloquent drawing. He almost wanted to do it in oils so that the true look of Jahana would be there. But upon looking at it again, he shook his head, and left it alone.

She had been lost to him in working for the Fellowship, and yet she would never die as long as the many sketches and paintings endured. Somewhere a bronze statuette was sitting, bringing her essence to that place it was displayed. No, Jahana would always be alive to Neryth, always there in his heart and his mind. The muse of his life.
I never thought a body could be so warm. Or touch so comforting. It's…

<These words began the Sin'dorei's entry, but they are old, and the page left unfinished. The scream of a Proto Drake rang across the lands. Not unusual, for it is Northrend, but the thrill of the beast's primal cry reminds her of something. Of another Proto Drake she had once known. And, frowning, she moved to rise. Leaving Ratheron's blankets to fall back onto him, she slipped quietly from his side.

Dawn broke slowly over Scholazar Basin, and the ancient beast, scales of a golden bronze, rose in the distance. Mouth agape as he swept and flew with a force only few understood or could harness, Shadow found herself captivated by the sight. If only she could draw, she would. If only she could write better, she would narrate a poem dedicated to such a creature. Though some would consider the Proto Drake to be ugly, she had fallen in love with the beast. But when he rounded upon her, she realized that she had made a grave mistake in coming to the cliff's side to watch.

She jumped, scrambled, and made her way quickly down the pillar's side, leaving her still sleeping hippogryph behind, as if he would protect her lover from this, what she thought was coming. The dragon was tracking her, she could tell. Somehow, he knew. He always knew. By the time she reached the foot of the pillar, she found herself nearly flattened into the lush grass as the monstrosity, dubbed Prime by his master, came upon her.

"Ah!" she laughed, feeling far from threatened as he rested his abnormally shaped head upon her, it alone large enough to nearly crush the slender woman.

"Now, now… what have we here?" Shadow cringed and shut her eyes tight. This was too soon! Leather boots hit the ground as the rider dismounted and casually strolled over to her. A hand, clad in dark colors, came to rest over Prime's snout and fel-tainted eyes gazed down upon the runaway.

"Hi…" she squeaked.

"Hello, Risalyn," Shadowless nearly purred down at her. "Have you been causing trouble?" his eyes gleamed knowingly.

"No…" she lied with a small smile.

"Good," the assassin laughed. "I am… glad to see that your family decided to let you go out on your own, after all. It would be a… shame… if they were to be searching for you. If they were to… find you…" he grinned slowly, casually. "Cut your venture short…"

Shadow was forced to look up at the man whose name she had partially stolen. Shadowless was a far more rugged looking elf than Ratheron. Younger, full of fire, and about as apt at listening as the monk had become. He had been training for far longer than she, however, as could be seen by the telltale scars of his experiences. The small ones, one of which cut down over the right side of his mouth, flawing his lips, were only the beginning, she knew. He had showed her every scar on his body, once.

He had given her the one scar on her own body, the ugly cut which traveled from her left cheek down to the corner of her jaw.

Not on purpose, she thought mildly to herself as Prime tried to grind her into the ground with affection. Gasping for air, she tried to push the Proto Drake off before he suffocated her. It was partially Shadowless's fault that her parents nearly suffocated her, after all. He had taken her away, once. And she had gotten into all sorts of trouble. Long, long ago.

"You're as horrible at playing innocent as ever," Shadow, finally slipping free from under his drake's head, rounded on the killer, whose lips twisted with an amused grin.

"Never said I was innocent," he shot back at her before offering a helpless shrug of his shoulders. "Never promised to capture you if I ever saw you, either. Of course…"

Shadow could only imagine. The man had a horrible knack of toying with truth and lie, twisting them until they were the same. She rolled her eyes skyward before shaking her head.

"I suppose I do owe it to them," he mused finally before taking a step closer to her. Shadow dropped into a defensive stance, raising her hands before herself, fingers held in a loose curl, her body relaxed as she gazed at him. Giving him her best 'try me' look. The assassin stopped for a moment before laughing.

"Cupcake, are we really going to do this?" he choked the words out, as if she was killing him with amusement.

"I'm not going back," her words rang with conviction. "Not yet…" oh, she didn't want to see Ratheron wake up now. She prayed fervently that the monk high above would sleep a while longer yet. Until Shadowless had gone.

"Ever?" he purred the words with a sly grin.

"In due time," she promised.
He stepped forward, anyway, his hand reaching out quickly to grasp her wrist. Startled, Shadow jerked back, digging her heel into the ground for a bit of leverage. His weight didn't allow for him to be pulled so easily off balance, but as she charged her energy, she sent a shock of Chi through his hand, causing him to suddenly release her, jerking his hand back and shaking it. His look turned appraising as he began to circle her, remaining silent now. Not even a yelp had escaped his lips, and she wondered, grimly, if maybe some of his marks hadn't come from torture.

He reached for her again, this time donning a serious expression, and trembling, she side stepped each attempt. For a brief moment, she felt her heart flutter, amazed at her own swift reactions, as he caught air each time. Until, suddenly, he stepped forward into her, his right hand thrust out to wrap around her neck. Something painful dug into her spine, something she couldn't see, as he had cornered her, easily, and pushed her now into a gem outcrop. And, for a moment, she couldn't breathe.

Gasping, she grabbed his hands with both of her own, before gathering her Chi once again, between her lips this time. Then, breathing out, she released a stream of flame, causing him to jerk, though he didn't release her. Holding her at arm's length, she found herself growing rapidly weak due to the lack of air, and wondered if, maybe, she hadn't been able to release a strong enough attack to force him to drop her due to how he held her.

Smart man…

Suddenly, she could breathe again as Shadowless dropped her. With stars in her vision, she was forced to fall to the ground, shaking and choking, unable to respond when he spoke in a harsh voice.

"Mage, there's no reason for you to even be out here…"

Rolling onto her side, she expected that, any moment, he would do something. That he would use a blade on her. Poison her. Gag her. Grab her and throw her onto Prime's back and she would wake up in Shattrath, unmasked before her family.

But nothing happened.

"I want… to live…" she gasped, finally, once she realized that he was waiting on her. "My life!"

He laughed. One of those laughs that made her question Shadowless's sanity. Something almost crazed was in his tone as she looked up at him. No mirth was in his eyes as he considered her.

"I find it sad," he finally spoke, as if to answer the questions swimming in her mind. He was always so good at reading her. At answering what was unasked. "All your family ever wanted to do was protect you. All you ever wanted to do was spit in their face because you want to be independent and can't think of any other response than to childishly run off…"

"They would have never let me go otherwise…" she hissed. "I would have always been there. I would have been wed to you. I would have been…"

"Free, probably," he raised an eyebrow down at her. "Do you truly despise me that much, Riri?"

She cringed at his nickname and looked away. He scared her.

"What do you think I would have done as your husband?" he mused. "Beat you? Left you bruised? What happened to your left shoulder, by the way?"

"My what?" she feigned innocence. It still hurt after the Amphitheater of Anguish, when an opponent had rushed past Ratheron and slammed her into a wall.

"You favored it," he commented. Only a few second's scuffle and he had seen past her. "You're physically weak, you don't know how to handle close combat at all. You're awkward, easy to distract, you don't pay attention to your surroundings, your attacks are absolute sh*t compared to any half decent monk."

Tears formed in her eyes as she looked down at the grass, wanting to lie there forever. Wanting to curl up and die as Shadowless berated every ounce of hard work she had put into her training. The man paused, leaning back as he ran a hand through his bangs as he gave a frustrated sigh.

"Light, girl, did you think I wouldn't have at least trained you?" he laughed at her.

"I thought you would have laughed at my family," she replied calmly.

"Whose idea do you think this was?" he replied coldly, and she froze. She had always assumed that it wasn't his idea. That he would hate the idea of being bound to someone. "I never liked seeing you coddled that extensively. But I never thought myself such a bad lover that you would bolt at the notion of being wed to me."

Her face colored as she curled up, unable to respond to her fiancé. Unable to face him, to say anything intelligent. To say anything at all. Not even an apology found its way to her lips as Shadowless grew silent, as if waiting on her to speak. Or, perhaps simply thinking.
When she finally did look up at him, his expression was harsh, almost cruel. His gaze lifted towards the pillar she had been sleeping on. Anger was written across his features, and she found herself suddenly raising, suddenly throwing herself into him. Arms wrapping around him, not to embrace him like a lover, but to restrain him. The man grunted softly at the impact, staggering, but that was all she could do.

"Thought as much," he spoke in a low tone, and her blood ran cold. Shadowless had probably been spying on them. For how long, she wasn't certain. How she had missed seeing, hearing Prime, she also wasn't certain.

"You'd make a sh*tty husband," Shadow growled, refusing to let go. Refusing to let harm come to her lover. The assassin grew very still at her words, his gaze lowering to look down at the woman who began to shake against him.

"Obviously," he spat coldly. "You deserve better…" he reached an arm around, as if to embrace her. And, for a moment, Shadow relaxed. "I'll be taking this…"

She jerked back to see him holding Crow's guild stone. Pocketing it, he seemed to know exactly what he was holding, and what it meant. That, or he was reading the shocked and outraged expression on her face.

"Give it back!" she screamed.

"Suck my c*ck," he replied in a bored voice before turning away, turning his back on her.

Angrily, furiously, she gathered her energy once again, sending it shooting out towards his back. And, for a moment, he staggered. Just for a moment, before shaking it off easily. Though his hair stood nearly on end, stands floating, he simply laughed, cruelly, as if she had tickled him.

"Never thought of you as a sl*t before, but…" he shrugged before grabbing onto Prime's saddle and pulling himself up. Shadow's stomach churned when she looked at him. And, for a moment, she could see murder in his gaze. Every time she saw that look, she knew that someone would die.

"I suppose you're right," he looked down at her. "You're always right, aren't you?" his lips twisted into a malicious snarl, and she wondered, then, if their scuffle hadn't been a test, but an honest attempt to kill her for betraying him.

Prime took flight with a burst of power, and she screamed after him. Guilt lingered as she, once again, questioned everything about herself, about what she was doing, what she was trying to do, and why. Everything seemed to begin to lose its meaning. She wasn't some grand crusader out to try to change the world. She wasn't out to save people's lives.

She had hurt one of her closest friends, she realized. Shadowless had always been there for her. Maybe he had even loved her. And she had cheated on him, betrayed him without a word.

Up above, on the pillar, her journal was left open, pages turned to that unfinished sentence.>
From the pages of my journal:

She is a member of our House, and she has begun her journey through life, as a warden. I have heard of them, and they are a worthwhile group to be a part of, especially from the sense of being a Sin'dorei. Aristolyn does not choose the easy path, and I respect her for that.

And I remember myself starting out so long, alone and with that silly lone wolf mentality that nearly got me killed...well, it did kill me, and without Karamia and Kel'tira, I wouldn't be here now. I want to support Aris in her choice in life, and let her know someone cares, especially one in our House. So I have helped her in small ways, however now, she has had a bad experience with the loss of her dragonhawk.

I care not for the lines of communication within the House, I feel as though I am constantly under scrutiny, but this time I learned of Aris' misfortune through that same grapevine. So it has its good as well as its bad, I suppose.

I have extended an offer of lunch, to discuss where she goes from here. Perhaps to give her a simple pep talk to let her know that the House cares, or maybe that I care, whichever works. I do not want her discouraged, but moving forward in her life.

She reminds me of a young Kel'tira, I can see the resemblance, and most of all the fiery character of my wife in her eyes. How can I not help nurture that and help her to grow into a strong woman of the House?

I am tempted to have lunch somewhere private away from the House network of spies and such. Where we can speak honestly and openly. I'll ask Kel'tira if she knows of a place, for I can hide nothing from her, and want her to know what's going on. And why.
It was a small dark cell that he awoke in, he had no idea what was happening. The last thing he remembered was closing his eyes and the slight roar of the demon he had been fighting. He jerked himself from that memory. He had died. He -was- dead. "Ah good! You are awake! Targus said you would wake soon, yet I wasn't so sure, re-animation can be such a pain sometimes." He looked around, trying to find the source of the voice yet he couldn't place it. Suddenly dim lights were uncovered and the Sin'dorei blinked at them.

"Might I say what a fine specimen you are! Months you have spent dead yet your body shows no signs of dramatic decomposition! Simply splendid!" The voice seemed to come from all direction at once, an insane note in the glee that was obvious. "Who are you?!" The elf shouted, his voice hoarse and then he froze. He knew the chill he had heard in his voice, he knew what it meant. 'No...' He thought to himself in horror, he would destroy this creature. He would destroy them for doing to him, he would not live like this!

"Oh I am a simple man, a simple servant of a greater power. My name is unimportant at this juncture... Ah good! Targus welcome back! Your prize is waking up!" A manic giggle escaped after the voice became sidetracked and the lights grew a tad brighter, now the elf could see. What he saw did not help him for before him stood a massive giant. As tall as he was, six foot four inches, and the size of a small tank! Yet his eyes glowed with power, not the traditional blue but a swirling mass of blues and purples. It was intimidating for in that face, in that gaze there was no emotion. Nothing. It was devoid of anything it reminded the elf of the Death Knights who slaughtered his people.

It reminded him of the darkest days of his life. "Ah yes you see in Targus what the Knights were supposed to be!" The Sin'dorei slowly turned his gaze to the other man, he was not as physically intimidating yet it did nothing to assuage the fear he felt when he stared into those fiery eyes. Within their depths was a malice, a desire for death and destruction that was not like anything he had seen before. This man, simply put, was darkness made real. "You my young friend will become much like him if you follow me! The glory you will find, the power... The whole world will kneel to you if you but follow me." The voice promised, the elf felt some of his desire, his rebelliousness return. "I'll claim it after I kill you." He spat, rising slightly against the chains, he pulled at them and felt pain and energy course into him.

The man laughed as he moved forward, far faster than he should be capable of, "You think that you can stop me? You were weak. You are weak. These chains, they have held and turned harder men than you Tyrael Firehawk. Let the power of my masters course through you. The power of Darkness! Feel it, revel in it." The voice slowly stepped around him and hands were placed upon his shoulders as the man's lips were at his ear. "You will serve, in life, unlife or death. I care not. But you will -serve.-" He said, stepping away from the elf all but forgetting about him as he turned to speak to Targus.

"I foresee him being useful against the Firehawks, the pieces are all coming together..." Tyrael looked up at his words, wondering what was happening. When he looked there in a crystal orb stood his uncle, Ratheron. Speaking to another elf the words could not be heard but it looked as if it was... No... Kel'tira? Tyrael did not know what was going on, but he knew that if the Firehawks were the target it boded ill that his uncle had returned. "We simply must wait for them to strike." Tychus said with another laugh, exiting the small cell with Targus and leaving the broken elf to think. They had all the time in the world after all.

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