Diary of the white owl

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Violet
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

Re: Diary of the white owl

#41 Post by Violet » Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:17 pm

Violet lay on the floor of her day room, her legs propped up on the sofa, staring on the intricate
carvings of the wood ceiling panels. There was a gigantic pile of documents waiting for her on her
desk. But right now she just lay there. Idle. With nothing to do and nowhere to be – well technically,
that pile would not magically disappear. But in that moment she just thought. About what Nomine
had said. Was that how people perceived her? As more as just… magic and money and a fancy title?
Was her worth as a person, as a being truly not limited to such things? When magic was her
everything? She couldn’t deny the shattering emptiness she felt. Like something, some major part of
her was absence. She couldn’t deny that felt fully useless either. She studied the arcane arts. She
know how to hold a staff, knew how to fend off an attacker long enough to hit them with a spell. But
with the absence of any spells… well.
But his reaction made her feel a great relief and let a weight fall off of her shoulders she didn’t even
realize was there. Leth’s words they did hit their mark. She wouldn’t admit it, but it made her scared.
She was just slowly finding her way back. And after everything that had happened contributing was
the very least that she could do.
Are you sure…?
Falroc had asked so carefully, as if the very words would cause her harm. The tone of his voice still
stuck with her. To her own surprise she was, more than sure. It was time, time to finally allow herself
to let go, slowly, piece by piece. She had to, because surviving was not enough. It would never be, no
matter how broken she was. How shattered. How many pieces of her were missing by now. She was
still here. She still had some sort of purpose given to her by fate. What kind of purpose? She didn’t
know, she didn’t care, because it didn’t really matter. She was here. She was alive. With or without
magic.
So she lay there, now staring at the palm of her hand. Not long ago it took her no more than a
thought with purpose to conjure fire so hot it could melt steel like it was snow. She could freeze
water solid as rock. She could form barriers to protect her allies. But now? Now there was nothing.
Not even a spark. It bothered her, greatly. She felt like a ghost without her magic. It ran through her
veins, filled her very being and its absence was felt tenfold for these facts. She felt like a soggy, meaty
husk, empty and without any use. But the words she had heard today gave her some sort of solace, a
small one. But one that kindled hope within her. The hope that, eventually, some way down this river
of life, things would be alright. Maybe not good, but at least bearable. And for today, that was
enough.
And as she looked at her reflection in the shining armor of her late husband, now down in the armory,
next to her own, she found it had changed much. Not because of the scars that were added to her
face. Because of her eyes. The look in them. Someone who had seen too much, too many times.
Horrific things, replaying in her mind over and over. But also someone who was too stubborn to
resent. Someone who also had seen hope, and good in the people. Someone… who hasn’t given up
yet. A look, familiar from someone else’s eyes, too. Her filigree fingers rested on the golden
breastplate. It was cold, lacking the warmth from the body within. She looked up to the lion-helmet.
It was empty. And she missed the soft look of those strikingly blue eyes. She missed the feeling of the
charming stubble underneath her tender fingertips. Those strong arms around her, that booming
laugh and mischievous grin, so infecting. But all those things would always be with her, in this
stubborn, resilient heart of hers. No one could take that from her, not even Red. It was hers, and hers
alone.

“You shouldn’t be here.”, Violet persisted, looking up to him. His wild, golden hair being softly ruffled
by the wind.
“No, I probably shouldn’t.”, he replied, this irresistible rasp in his voice, looking at her with a warm
smile.
“And you shouldn’t be looking at me like that.”, she pushed again.
“No, I should not.”, he agreed, stepping closer.
“You are to be wed.”
“That I am.”
With purpose she turned to the balustrade, looking down over the city with a sharp sigh. Why was he
being so… insufferable?
“It’s just… improper. You’re a noble and I’m just… I’m just some random nobody.”, she added, and for
her it was just the beginning of a fiery speech about standing. But before she could even think about
continuing he interrupted her.
“You’re not just some random nobody. Not to me.”, the tone in his voice was so firm, so sure, he
spoke without any doubt. Honest words that somehow shook her.
“But I have to be, don’t you see that? We don’t belong, we come from ways that couldn’t be more
different!”, Violet insisted fiercely. “We can’t… I can’t…”
“Says who? Society? My family? The Kirin Tor? Certainly not. As if you ever cared for rules.”, he
grinned widely, cocking his head to the side. His eyes were so full of warmth and light.
“This is different.”
“How?”
“It just is! Stop asking so many questions!”, she scoffed angrily as she made her way around the
tower, just for the sole reason of moving and not standing still. He followed her silently, just looking
at her with this damn grin of his.
“It’s nice up here.”, he stated, seemingly changing the subject.
“It is. It’s… my favorite spot in all of Dalaran. The view is beautiful, isn’t it?”, she humored him, glad
for the bit of relief, for him stopping to ask questions she didn’t have an answer for.
“Most beautiful indeed.”, he mumbled, and when she turned her head he was looking straight at her.
It was irrational, ill advised, plain stupid and unheard of. But from the moment he kissed her that
fateful night up that tower, she was his.


She almost startled, as she felt the warmth of another hand on top of hers. Her eyes wide she turned
her head, to be greeted with Falrocs gentle eyes. He seemed worried, an emotion that quickly
disappeared when he saw her bright and warm smile, returned in kind. He looked so relieved
somehow.
“Dinner is served.”, he explained.
“I’ll be right up.”, Violet nodded, looking after him as he left that stone hall and took the stairs back
up. Her eyes drifted back to the armor and a low sigh escaped her. Her heart ached, yes. It ached,
because she loved him, not the same way she loved Flint. It was quite different, but neither more nor
less.

Oh Lion my Lion, your deafening roar,
Will again be as loud as it once was before.
We fight through the nightmares, the shades, our light will not fade,
Till the war has been won and the tides have been swayed.

She softly sang the verses, but this time not with overwhelming grief, that ate her alive. Her heart
was still a crater, yes. Still as deep and as harrowing as before. Now when she looked up in that
empty helmet, a smile was on her lips. A tear falling from her eyes, but not one formed by pain, but
one made by precious memories, treasures hidden within the darkness of that crater. Her fingers
then brushed softly over the metal of her own breastplate on its stand next to Rick’s. Still the metal
was cold as ice, unresponsive. She had lost so much… her life, her very being in shambles. Shattered
on the ground like a fragile vase. She tilted her head. Someone believed she was more than all of
this. So maybe she could be. She just needed to… trust. And what was grief… if not love persevering.
Again she felt the corner of her mouth twitch up, and so Violet turned and left, not noticing that, as
she climbed the stairs, the runes on her armor glowed in the softest, purest hue of orange.

Violet
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

The rabbit in the moon

#42 Post by Violet » Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:25 am

She pulled her white fur shroud a little tighter around her form. She stood there, before the door to her guesthouse for quite a bit. Long after the figure had disappeared into the shadows. And while she knew she should not, she found herself to worry. And while she knew she could not, she found herself to care about it. It was the nature of the beast and how her cards were dealt.
A soft breeze made its way through the narrow alleyway, rustling her skirts and creeping up her skin. Summer was over, there was no doubt about it. She turned around, her slender hand pressed on the wood of the portal, as she halted. Certainly, she could go up there now. Be alone and miserable. Like she had been countless times before.

The village was still up on its feet and the square was buzzing with people. And while she expected a hum of voices or the clattering of food bowls all she heard was her friends' voice singing. She still understood precious little of the pandaren tongue, yet she knew by heart what her song was about. She listened to her practicing for the better part of the past month.
It was about the lady in the moon and her beloved down on Azeroth. Separated by cruel fate. For him, a cow herder, she surrendered her immortality to become a mere weaver girl. Their life was one of love and double fortune. But the cow herder knew, that their years together would run out, as he was but a mere mortal and she was meant to be a goddess. He saw the great sadness in her eyes, whenever they spoke about it. So he sought out the wise jade rabbit to beg him for the cure for mortality. The rabbit offered the cow herder a trade. As he happened to be an excellent marksman, the jade rabbit asked him to shoot down 9 of the 10 suns on the sky, as their bright light burned the ground and spoiled the harvest. The cow herder did as he was asked and was rewarded. But others were greedy and wanted the cure for mortality for themselves. So they followed the cow herder, fighting him. The weaver girl took both of the pills and hid them in her mouth to keep them safe. But she stumbled and swallowed both. And as her beloved struck down the last of their enemies, she floated into the night sky, up to the moon, where she ever since reigned her kingdom, gazing down to Azeroth, longing for her cow herder.
So once every year, at the day of the moon festival, the pandaren shoot their fireworks up into the sky, in bright, vibrant colors. Bright enough to make Lady Moon see them, so she knows that her cow herder never stopped loving her. And every year on the same day they celebrate family and union.

Far, far away is the cow herder.
Bright, bright is the weaver girl.
Slender, slender her fair hands weave.
Clack, clack goes her loom.
Yet, no cloth is done by the end of the day,
As she weeps tears like falling rain.
The stars above, shallow and clear,
When will the lovers meet again?
Separated by water, yet so near,
They gaze lovingly but speak in vain.


Violet smiled softly, as she took a seat at the round table, turning her eyes to uncle Hoji eating his noodle soup.
"So, do you think she saw the spectacle?", she askes with a little smile.
"She better, because we cannot make brighter fireworks.", he grinned, before slurping an endless rope of noodles.
"We did not expect to see you again this evening. Where is your company?", auntie Joo-Eun added, not nosy at all of course.
Thankfully Chanru spared her the need to answer, as she let herself fall onto the seat right next to her, with a long, sorrowful sigh.
"What's the long face? As far as I can say everyone was enchanted by your song.", Violet asked with a warm smile, but the pandaren girl just pouted.
"Yes! Everyone but Kang-Dae it seems.", she replied sourly.
"Ah nonsense child!", nana Yijun threw in, putting down the mooncake from her wrinkly paws. "Patience. It is a bitter plant but bears the sweetest fruit, you will see."
Violet and Changru both looked at her, their brows raised.
So she added: "Just as distance tests the yak's strength, time can reveal a person's heart. You will see if fate wills it."
But the girl only let out a low sigh - certainly, ancient parables are not exactly the kind of consolation she hoped for. Violet knew the feeling, it was not that awfully long ago that she herself was young. She jostled her softly.
"Here, have a mooncake and watch me take off another hairpin from good uncle Hoji.", she winked with a grin.

She could have spent that night in the guesthouse, all on her own, being miserable. But what use was there? It would not change the hand that fate had decided to deal. And so instead she spent the night with her new friends, eating, playing Mahjong, winning another hairpin. Laughing and joking, feeling alive. And it was good to be alive. She wondered how things were now for Flint, on the other side of the Veil. How the Shadowlands treated him. He had found his peace. And now she had to find hers. He was fine. That was all that mattered and she had a feeling that... in time... maybe... she could be too.

When she fell into her bed that night, tipsy and full, with a flush on her cheeks and a grin still on her face, she dreamed of white cranes and lotus flowers. The darkness she almost succumbed to all but a distant memory.

Violet
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

Curiosity and the cat

#43 Post by Violet » Mon Oct 25, 2021 1:31 am

She knew, when she saw Ironfur, that the time for hiding, for peace and reflection was over. She would miss Pandaria so very much, she would miss the people there so very much. The little illusion of a normal life she had built for herself there. A quiet life, without the burdens and responsibilities. But both were a firm part of her very self.
Thoughtfully she braided her hair out of her face, looking at her reflection in the mirror. She looked good, healthy. Her skin was glowy, perfect if it wasn't for her many scars. Images, memories of the people who put them there flashed through her mind. No more dark circles under her bright, intelligent eyes. And despair was replaced by determination. Still the same face, still the same eyes. She was still the same. With or without her magic. She felt Loki's magic, so it was likely she didn't lose it completely. Optimism. That was new.
Changru helped her get dressed. Her war robes were very different from the lightly woven robes she wore here. She saw the sorrow in the girl's face - and it pained her heart as well to leave. She firmly swore to herself to return here soon. But returning to Stormwind like this was a very conscious choice. She would not allow anyone to doubt her capability nor her strength. It was part of the masquerade.
"I'll be back...", she hugged the girl tightly, then Auntie and Uncle, said her goodbyes, gathered the small red cardboard box with the mooncake she made. She forced herself to look ahead, not back. If she did she might not find the guts to actually step through her scheduled portal. Even that felt different now.

Stormwind however still felt the same. The streets buzzing with activity, people everywhere one looked. It also still smelled the same. It would take a bit to get used to that again after she spent so much time in Dalaran and then in Pandaria. What had changed dramatically however was her entrance hall. Gone was the dark, gloomy wood on the walls, along with the judging portraits. Replaced by lighter paneling in an inviting, warm color. The tapestry was still the same, of course, yet the art was replaced by her own finds. Mostly unknown, aspiring painters from all over. And mostly landscapes. Yet... one particular piece caught her eye... she did not remember having this made. It depicted her Familiar, in a rather regal setting, the only thing missing really was a crown on his head. She turned to her study, where a giant pile of parchment and scrolls already awaited her patiently.
"By the light...", she let out an already exhausted sigh. "Probably good I did come back."
Yet her first mission was to find Falroc. He wasn't in his quarters, and neither did she find him in the stables. Was he gone? Maybe training or... it was then she spied him through the tall glass windows out in the garden. Lounging on a chair, napping, his hounds at his feet. She stood there, watching him for quite a bit, a warm smile on her lips. He deserved rest. She was aware that he was working tirelessly on her behalf. Keeping the house in order while she was absent.
So she decided to sneak outside, as not to wake him just yet, only to then slam a stack of parchment onto the little side table next to him.
"Imagine my shock. I'm gone for a mere two months and come back to find you loafing around!", she scolded - but couldn't hold up the act at the sight of his utterly startled and confused face.
"M'lady!", he almost jumped to attention, to his feet. She widened her eyes in surprise as he drew her into a hug, lifting her off her feet in the process. "You have returned at last!"
Violet giggled and laughed, wrapping her own fragile arms around him. She felt safe and sheltered. "Indeed I have."
He put her down on her feet all too soon, a slight hint of embarrassment painted across his features due to his rather sudden outbreak.
"And you look good, if I may say so.", he inclined his head ever politely, a certain military stiffness within the movement.
"Oh you may.", she grinned widely.
It was nice to be back. To see the familiar faces again. They just sat in the garden idly, chatting away the afternoon over several cups of tea. She even found out about the odd painting. It turned out James had hired or... bugged one of the artists for long enough until they agreed to ... well... paint him. Spending some of her coin.
"That Familiar is out of control.", she said and giggled. In truth though, she liked the picture. At the very least it was a... funny anecdote.
She had forgotten how nice it really was here. Here very own little paradise. A home so full of not only sadness but so many precious, happy memories. It was like for the first time in years she saw the world around her clearly. And possibly the loss of her magic or... the severed bond she had with it was responsible for that. She didn't mind for the briefest moment.

They spent the rest of the day together, brooding over that giant pile of work, sorting it, reading letters, invitations and the likes.
"This might interest you. New nobility, recently named a Lord.", he handed her the invitation over the desk. Her eyes regarded the text on it for a few moments.
"What a fortunate time to come back, no? A good time to forge new alliances, the nobles will treat this...", she looked to the bottom of the invitation. "Lord Sebastian Maleinos just as nicely and welcoming as they have treated me. Another intruder. This could be beneficial for us.", she mused, pursing her lips. "We shall attend his little... festivity.", she handed the invitation back.
"We?"
"Of course, you think I'd leave to have fun all without you? I want to know more about him. Where he comes from, what deed brought him a title, where he got his lands from, you know the spiel.", she ordered casually.
It went on like this, for quite a bit, before the voice of her valet echoed through the halls.
"Lord Leth'lor Sharpspirit!", he was announced and didn't spend any more time before pushing the elaborately carved double doors to her study open. In his eyes a burning determination, in his hand a sealed, dark blue folder.
"I shall leave you to it.", Falroc announced, before getting up, inclining his head politely to the visitor and leaving the room, pulling the doors closed behind him.
"Well... what ... unexpected surprise.", Violet said, leaning back in her chair, tilting her head.
"I heard you were back in Stormwind. Your last letter to the Kirin Tor did not state any ... address.", he spoke clam, civil but underneath that, she heard a hint of anger.
"To Persiphora you mean. And it did not, conveniently so."
"That was reckless of you. You are lucky she has this sway over the inquisition, making them look the other way. For the moment at least.", he shot back, poison burning in his gaze already.
"Why did you come here Leth. To insult me, yell at me? Threaten me, yet again?", she let out a low sigh, interlocking her fingers under her chin.
His jaw was grinding, his eyes did not leave her form for as much as a second. Yet suddenly his expression slightly softened.
"I wanted to see you.", he admitted, his tone gentler.
She tilted her head. "Well, here I am. And I am indeed quite the sight."
"Don't be like this."
"Like what? A little sour that you threaten to obliterate me last we spoke? Oh no, I think it was the notion that without my ability to conjure you a little cream tart from the other end of Azeroth I might as well be as much as the dirt under your boot to you. Yes, I think that was it."
She saw the shame that crept over his handsome face like a shadow. She saw the tips of his long knife ears redden as he stepped closer.
"I know what I have said, and I had no right to do so. I apologize."
"Oh. You apologize. Oh that makes it better now of course."
"Violet, I was angry, mad with fury, out of all people you should understand best!"
"Ah. Yes but of course. If you're going to be two-faced, at least make one of them pretty, dear.", her voice was perfectly sweet and polite, but she saw that her words cut deep. "Is that all then?"
He let out a low, resigned sigh and shook his head. "I don't know what you want me to say Violet."
"I'd prefer if you wouldn't say anything for a bit, Leth.", she couldn't forget his words, for they too cut deep and she was the resentful kind.
"Alright. I shall... respect your wish. But I will leave this here for you. I think you should know. You deserve to know.", he placed the folder right before her on the table. It wasn't thick, maybe twenty pages of parchment, possibly less. And she recognized the seal in the unbroken wax.
"Not this again Leth. Leave it be.", she couldn't help but start to get annoyed.
"No, you deserve to know this. To reevaluate your loyalties. You're one of us. And deep down you know it. You do not belong here. And I know that you know it too Violet.", he pressed rather passionately.
"What I know is that your... whatever this is, is starting to be a problem. And it is making me realize more every day that I'm so much less like you and your lot and more like the people here."
There was something that urgently wanted to find its way outside his throat. He too was a slave to his impulses, just like she was. And magic just enhanced this greatly.
"Nether be damned Violet! How can you be so naive? So blindly loyal?! You're not stupid! We're speaking about rape!", she snarled at her, his voice slightly raised. The word echoed between them for a few heartbeats and it took her completely off guard and by surprise. Her eyes drifted to that little parchment folder, then back to Leth.
"You should go.", was all she got out, dryly and composed. And after another furious sigh he nodded, bowed and turned to leave.

As Falroc stepped back in he raised his brows. "Ill-tempered that one.", was his judgment.
"So am I.", she replied, still staring at the folder. He followed her eyes, but didn't say anything about it, for the rest of the evening they spent working through the papers and books.

That night she couldn't sleep. Thinking about that dark blue portfolio still resting on her desk unopened. What did Leth mean? The next morning she was on her feet early. Sitting in her study. Staring at it, how it tempted and mocked her with all its hidden knowledge. The secrets it could unfold. The sigil in the wax promised that the information within was solid. But it wasn't really knowledge that she so desired... it was clarity, wasn't it? And because she didn't know what to do, she just stared at it some more, stroking her thumb over her bottom lip.
"You haven't read it?", it was Falroc's voice that pulled her out of her thoughts. In his hands a tray with two cups, a teapot and some sweet buns for their breakfast. She loved those buns.
"No...", she shook her head, as he took a seat opposite of her.
"Why?"
"... I don't know."
The man poured the tea and let out a thoughtful, gruff sigh. "I know Leth'lor to have a temper but..."
"But you think he is right?"
He shook his head softly. "I trust your judgment Violet. You deem him trustworthy, so do I.", he explained, putting a cup of tea on its delicate little saucer in front of her.
"But you think I should read it?", she looked at her most trusted advisor, tilting her head.
"I think you should be careful around him. Very careful.", he began, throwing two cubes of sugar into his black tea and three into hers. "I would not dare speak my mind to intervene with your decisions."
Thoughtfully she stirred her tea, biting her bottom lip. "Then advise me, old friend. I certainly need it.", she admitted with a small smile.
He returned it kindly, took a sip and then began to speak.
"I heard things myself. People talk. And you should not give much to it. If you wish to know what he is made of, break the seal and read it. If you want to trust your heart, your instinct... don't. It's fairly easy.", he spoke, ever calm, ever wise.
She let out a sigh.
Curiosity killed the cat. And one day that would be the truth for her. Possibly though not yet, for there was a third option.

Violet
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

Through the eyes of the wolf

#44 Post by Violet » Wed Nov 03, 2021 1:02 am

( Written from Falroc's perspective in a collab :) )

He was watching from the shadows, he saw her leader leave her office. And he saw the expression of utter hurt on both of their faces. He knew not what they had spoken about, he intended to ask his mistress, but when he peeked inside of her study, he saw her sitting there, tears on her cheeks. The pain in her eyes has not left since. Often he caught himself thinking, how it looked like she had not left that same place in days, even though she did. But she barely touched her food, unlike the wine and whisky.
She studied the wooden carved figurines on their war table, listening to the news he would bring her about troop movements and the continued effort of the Alliance's forces to retrieve their king. She was there, listening, in all but spirit.
"You are a thousand miles away, aren't you?", Falroc spoke softly. He admired her. Not for her appearance, but for what was behind the facade. Her unwavering spirit. Her courage. The warm hue she shone on everyone around her, spending light in the darkest night, hope. Her brave, valiant heart that, even broken and scattered, shredded to lonesome pieces, held so much love.
Her bi-colored eyes looked up, they were empty. The great spirit and lust for life that she had returned with only days ago wiped away. All but a fading memory.
She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I ... must be overworked."
The old wolf knew well that this was not the reason. He saw the little cracks and wrinkles in the many masks she wore. He could see through them. But he knew better than to sprinkle salt into such a gaping wound. But he also knew the advice he would have to give her soon.
"You barely eat a bite as of late. You have not answered Lord Maleinos invitations either. You are refusing to see anyone.", a short sigh, that carried his worry more than his words did, escaped his lips.
"I just... just have my head so full. I'll be better, once we have finished this ever-growing pile here.", she did not look into his eyes as she spoke, she just returned to her seat, taking the next piece of paper. She followed her duties as Matriarch of her house, but she lately did so without any drive or passion. It was not the same as after the pirate passed. When she was laid in her bed, not moving, barely breathing. She wasn't inanimate or broken. But the pain in her eyes hurt even him. It was a silent, but busy kind of suffering.

~*~

Violet exhaled deeply, slumping back into her chair as soon as the door was closed. She rubbed the sides of her head. Every breath felt somehow painful as if someone constantly had her in a chokehold. She felt sick, a painfully empty hole in her gut. As if someone punched her with great force. She couldn't even stand the smell of food and ate very little of it. It was delicious, for sure, but she barely tasted anything. As if her senses had become dull. There was an unyielding, pounding pain behind her eyes - probably from her lack of sleep. She spent most of her nights lately in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking, recounting the words, the touch. A fine mess they found themselves in. She avoided the world outside but mainly she avoided him. She lacked the words. Or maybe she had just nothing to say. Maybe she was just trying to make this easier. For the both of them.
She looked down at her war table, taking one of the wooden coins, bearing the sigil of the Venthyr. A covenant she had not met but heard plenty about. She often wondered where her soul might go or where Flint's might be placed once the order was restored. She wondered what his advice may be. She heard his voice so vibrant in her memory. "Fuck the rules."
The corner of her mouth twitched upwards. Gods how much she missed him. Life with him would have been so much easier. Easier than this for certain. So many adventures that just awaited them ever so eagerly. Now she was left in this tangled mess of feelings and walls. Maybe it was too high a price to pay. And maybe she was just fooling herself. She turned the coin in her hand, feeling the engraved sigil on her skin.
Only a few days ago she was leading what felt like an entirely different kind of life...
Sleep avoided her. In the daytime she could bury herself in her work - it went slow and tough, but it was an excuse to stay away from everyone. Even hide from her own thoughts. But at night it all came raining down like daggers. She twisted and turned under her covers, just praying for sleep. She didn't want to think about it anymore. She spent at least two hours there before she gave up. She wanted to move, to run, to run as far as her feet would carry her.
Silently she took the steps downward, through the entry hall, looking for something to burn away the bad. The pain. The loneliness. Instead, she found Falroc - and she was thankful for it.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZcf3oXfz5k )
They walked the empty streets of Stormwind. He kept his mighty body close to her as if to shield her from any harm. It made her feel safer. It was eery almost, to see the usually bursting streets so abandoned. Not a soul around. Quiet, tranquil almost. She walked and walked and walked... but her heart did not go still, neither did her thoughts. She made so many foolish decisions in her life. But he... he was the worst of them all.
They reached the park - the day of the dead certainly has been properly celebrated, given how many candles stood around the memorial. Hundreds and hundreds more of half-burnt down candles and flower petals littered the ground. She barely noticed them, as she read the names on the stone. So many of them she knew. Friends. Allies. Comrades. Dead all the same. Gone with the wind. Was this her fate? Doomed to wonder 'what if' for all eternity?
Gently her fingers ran over the engravings. Feeling the smooth, cold stone. What might they say now? What would their advice be? Would they laugh, make her the butt of a joke to make her feel better? What would Flint say? What would Rickard say? The hole in her guts just stung painfully in response. As if something within her recoiled. Twice she had loved in her life, twice she had lost. She knew no such love anymore. Love made one do foolish things. Love was death. No, what she knew was passion and the respect of equals. And none of it made it any better...
Her breath escaped her rosy, soft lips in a small, curling cloud. She looked at one of those candles, the one closest to her. If only she could...
She called upon the arcane, screamed for it, yearned for it. For something to make this more bearable. Make her feel less useless... less hopeless.
"Please...", she pleaded - but the Arcane remained silent.
She closed her eyes, tired, exhausted, hurt. Her mind a raging ocean of memories, wild and untamed. She had no control over it. Those she lost and those she found. Such a tender touch for such cruel hands. The way he held her. The words that followed. The pain in his eyes.

And as she opened those curious, two-colored eyes, she was greeted by the warm, flickering light of a single candle. She turned around, to face her guard, her most trusted friend, and advisor. He looked at her, his eyes wide, as from that candle in the smallest burst, the smallest bit of recognition, an ocean of little tiny flames spread, igniting all those hundreds of candles.
Relief washed over her, mixing with disbelief, hope, and hopelessness at the same time, and this hot, white searing pain that burnt through her like the very fires of hell. Her trembling hand rose over her mouth, trying to hold it back, push, no force it back in. But the tears came all the same, and with it the sob as her legs gave out.

~*~

He felt it, long before he saw it. The pulse, like the steady beating of a heart, making his fur slightly bristle. He saw the candle ignite, as if by magic. And it was magic. A brief and weak shadow, nothing compared to what she used to do with it. But it was there, rising from the ashes. His eyes widened at her sight in the soft candlelight, as it spread, like wildfire. Igniting all the candles around. Reminding him of what she was to him. A bright light in the darkest night. Spending hope and warmth, something worth protecting. Her legs gave out as he rushed to her side, pulling her close and wrapping his massive arms around her fragile form. Shielding her both from danger and the world, her body quivered under pain and relief.

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