Diary of the white owl

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#31 Post by Violet » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:01 am

"I'm not trying to talk you out of something, but are you sure that this is a good idea?", Leth wanted to know, as he walked down the main street of Dalaran, right next to Violet.
"No, it is absolutely a stupid idea by any account.", she replied casually, shrugging, while she looked through the offers at a market stand. Fruit and vegetables - not that she felt particularly hungry.
A short pause unfolded, so that her two-colored gaze fell on him again, a questioning look in it.
"Why do it then?", he finally asked.
"Because I have to.", she decided, walking forward. Leth kept standing there, looking after her, worried. Shortly after he caught up again.
"You have to? Why? Because someone is forcing you to? Certainly not. I think you're getting yourself in a lot of danger!"
Again Violet turned around to him, letting out a low sigh. "Well, thankfully I like danger. Makes me feel alive.", she let her brows jump and moved onward - she was on a mission.

The little bell above the door chimed brightly, as they stepped into the store. It felt comfortably cozy, the bright colors of the various fabrics a feast for the eyes - and so was the dress on display. Her dress.
Lilly greeted them with a broad smile, pulling Violet into a hug.
"You're early, you're here to pick up your dress, I take it?", she didn't wait for the answer, with a flick of her wrist the piece was lifted from the mannequin.
"I am, but... there is something more. I need you to make something for me.", Violet explained calmly, pulling out a piece of parchment she had scribbled on the nights before, placing it on the counter before the half-elf. "Can you make something like this?", she asked, tilting her head. Already aware of the answer. Lilly never shied away from a challenge.
"Of course, but something like this... will cost you extra.", she answered with a cheeky wink.
"Until tomorrow."
"A lot extra then."
"Well, what are we waiting for then? Let's get the Embersilk out.", the mage concluded with a grin and a wink.

And as the seamstress took her measurements once more, brooded over the drawing Violet had brought her, she stood there, thinking. They dared attack her friends, attack her. Yes, she wanted to run off, face Red on her own to protect those she loved. Those she held dear. It likely would kill her, but it would also end it. Red was after her, only her - for whatever reason. And she had taken so much... Rickard... Flint... and who knows how many others. How many people had to die on her blood-red crusade, in order to fuel this... feud. No more. She remembered Nomine's words. An attack on one of Starlight is an attack on all of Starlight. An attack on one of her friends was an attack on all of them. She was done running. Done hiding. So they wanted to rattle their blades. Well, so could she. She would give them all a good look at what they were up against. She would do what she did best, what she was born for. She would go to war.

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III: Anger and bargaining

#32 Post by Violet » Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:45 pm

The fire was blazing through her very being. But the rush of the arcane did nothing for her. She was tired and exhausted - as always. Thick, black smoke filled the air. The stone-ground molten at places like wax. But she felt... nothing. Nothing but emptiness and the ever-growing void within her. That crater.
She felt dirty just thinking of it. But the feeling when Lord Emberpath touched her on the dancefloor, how their very cores resonated with each other... how it had stirred the magic within her, roused that beast she had put in chains... it was unbelievable. She could see in his eyes that he felt the same. But there was something else there. Desire. Longing. She despised him with every fiber of her being. But the magic. The way it fondled her, cradled her, welcomed her without judgment. The fleeting moment that she had felt power. True power. It was delicious. And she craved more of that forbidden fruit.
She felt shame for the mere thought. Disappointment. And anger rose up in her once more. As her spells kept raining down like hail in a stormy night, the barrier of the training ground started to crack like a mirror or a glass that just fell to the ground. She was losing control. Her breath frantic. But very distant there she felt something. Something good. And she desperately wanted to feel something.
She was back in that cave in Draenor. Every breath she made torture in itself. Her body slick with blood. She did not know what hurt more. What they did to her body, or what they did to her mind in the process. How they had crippled her. Crimson life feeling wet all over her, pouring out of her wounds like they were festive chalices. Her breath was slow, shaky, she barely had the strength to draw them in. She barely had the strength to look at her hand, stained with dark red as she pulled it up from the wound. The realization of what it actually meant didn't set in until much later.
"I am your god now.", the Orc had stated with a wide grin, after she had prayed to the light. The light did not reach this place. This place was just darkness and pain. She clutched that very last bit of life inside her with her own hands, held on to it for the sake of her comrades the ones in her charge. She was not done yet. It was not the light, that had saved her.

She could feel her blood starting to boil, her skin heating up and the air around her began to smolder. Rage... it was rage that she felt. At Axebane. She remembered the honorable death she had granted him - but for what? It didn't bring back the lives he had taken, nor change the things he had done. Honor - what was it worth? And with that thought, another cascade of fire rained down at the already burnt and molten dummies.
Snowflakes melting on her skin, burning like fire in the process. A firm grip around her neck. His dead eyes staring at her. What if... what if she just let go back then. Submitted. Gave in. It would all have been over. No more pain, no more bloodshed. Right then and there, a comfortable end, comfortable like the lulling exhaustion that had set in as he squeezed the life out of her. Just why did she get up? Why did she rise against the dawn? Wouldn't it have been better if she had given up back then? If just she had... But no... and his screams would haunt her till she was on her deathbed. How desperately he tried to escape her fire. The fire she loved so much, engulfing and devouring what she loved most. That kept her warm and gave both light and life. How desperately she had prayed to the light to save him, to save them. But the light did not answer. The light did not reach that place. Only snow and pain. It wasn't the light that pulled her back to her feet...
Her breath formed curling little clouds in the air from the temperature difference. She felt the magic flowing through her at worrying rates. She didn't want to tame it anymore. She wanted to let it run free, let it tear her apart in the process, let it melt the world around her to the ground and drown it in flames. Her anger overtaking all her senses. The next spell made the air around it crackle.
She felt his limp body, his empty eyes still staring at her, her tears staining his cheeks, wiping away some of the dirt and ashes. Her entire body cold with fear and despair. She felt so powerless. Because she was. She was weak. She couldn't do anything. He was dead. He was dead because of her. Gone forever. Taking all they had shared with him, taking all the warmth. He was gone, way too soon, just like that young soldier was in Nazjatar. If only she had surrendered, submitted... given up. If only she finally let death take her. None of them needed to be gone if it wasn't for her. She was back, back in her ocean of guilt, with the floating corpses of all those she had failed. They could still be alive if it wasn't for her. Her misjudgment. Her weakness. Her failure. And oh how she had prayed to the light to do something. To preserve them, to have mercy. But the light did not reach those places. Only guilt and pain. It wasn't the light, that took her into its embrace...
The chains of the beast inside her rattled, their hold weakening. She had constricted it in chains for over a decade. Alienating the fire from her. Separating it into some hidden cave. Only ever letting tinders escape. But it roared in anticipation. It wanted out. And she was done keeping it in. She felt her heart slowing. Her breath stopping, her being combusting into fire. Fire... it had taken everything from her, and yet it was a sharp and trusty blade, one that was plummeted so deep inside her heart she thought that moment she would die. The air was charged with the arcane, crackling and sparkling.
And she let go. The spell expanding, taking from her, feasting on her, ringing along with her scream. And she gave willingly, exhaustingly. She handed herself over to the magic, surrendered herself to the arcane, not the shadows, tempting as they might have screamed into her ears right now. The sound was almost deafening - and she could feel the painful heat. Something was wrong. She didn't care. The fire burst out like her like a roaring ocean of vengeance. It surged against the borders of the barrier like water, filling it up, illuminating the entire training ground, melting the stone slabs beneath her. The barrier cracked, splintered and collapsed in sync with the death of her spell. She fell to her knees, all the strength gone from her very being. Her head dizzy, numb. The remnants of that protective barrier rained down on her like sparkling, spectral mirror shards and stars. She barely paid any attention. She noticed Leth's touch, sending a ripple through her. Her eyes rose to meet his. Fel green. A color to get lost in.
"Violet! What are you doing?!", the words should sound angry, but all she heard was worry. The fire had hurt her...
Her eyes sunk from his handsome face to her palms in her lap, she couldn't answer. Leth stared at her for a few moments - was he... frightened? He went down on his knees, raising her chin, his eyes overflowing with the worry that was so evident in his voice. But no judgment.
"Why are you so angry...?", he asked, as if he knew what she felt just from their touch. It was much weaker than what she had felt back at the ball, but it was still there.
"I ... I don't know...", she replied with a weak, brittle voice. And it was the truth.

A little later he pulled the double doors shut behind them, looking at the two glasses standing at the coffee table. "You had a visitor?"
Violet didn't answer. A suffocating feeling of shame crawling back up her spine again. And with it another surge of anger.
"I need you to do something for me.", she finally spoke, turning around, she felt utterly empty.
"Anything, dear.", he stepped closer, trying to see her features in the dim light, possibly hoping to see what she felt. Her features remained just as empty.
"I need you to find out whatever you can about Lord Emberpath.", she said, her voice a little firmer. He was a Kirin Tor, too, higher in rank and able to dig where she couldn't.
"What... I mean yes. But... why?", the tone in his voice already exhausted her. She was not a good liar. She avoided it where she could. Honesty, righteousness, that was her forte. She never saw the use or need for lies.
"Because I will speak with him. Alone. And I want to know who I am facing.", she replied dryly, her voice sounded hollow in her own ears.
"Alone? Are you daft? He could kill you! For lights sake he has already tried for what we know! Have you gone insane?!", his voice did a bad job of hiding the Sin'Dorei's anger and frustration. She didn't care. But she cared when he started to go into a monologue about how dangerous it was, how she could die, how they could catch her, do whatever to her again and again. Mess with her mind. But that was just the thing... they had already done all those things to her. Only the unknown was to be feared. She wasn't afraid anymore. But he just went on regardless. She wanted him to shut up, she wanted to feel something other than the emptiness inside her. Her head started ringing, she was tired, but she knew that sleep would avoid her. And before she knew what she did, she turned on her heel and kissed him. It didn't take as much as a heartbeat for him to reply to that kiss, it had a sense of urgency, of wanting and longing. But none of those things really touched her. She knew what she did was wrong in so many ways. But his touch, it tingled on her skin, his lips sending ripples to the writhing arcane within her. He pushed her to her bed, and she let him. She wanted to feel. She wanted to be alive.
But she didn't feel a thing. She looked down at him. How his chest rose and fell in arrhythmic and hectic movements. At the dumb, happy grin on his face, how the sweat made his skin slightly shimmer in the candlelight. The awe in his gaze.
Why not stay...
Philias voice came crawling into her consciousness.
Why not stay with him then...
It was so tempting. Running her fingers over his chest, drawing imaginary patterns, as she just stared into his eyes. Enjoying the feeling of safety and warmth his embrace would offer. To fall asleep, knowing she wasn't alone. Waking up in his arms. But she felt nothing. She felt empty, and it was wrong. She had nothing to offer to him but this. Tenderly her fingertips brushed a strand of blood-red hair out of his face, clinging to the wet on it.
Why not stay.
Her feet hit the ground, and it felt like someone hit her with a hammer. She had overdone it. By far. She felt crippled and weak. But she moved to her study anyways, wrapping her naked form into a robe. It cost her strength to remain upright as she looked down to her wartable. She was out there, somewhere, right now. Maybe she was watching. Preying. Waiting. It was then that Violet realized that since she clutched Flints lifeless body to her chest and the tears had stopped coming, that her heart had turned to solid stone. And that she needed it that way, to make it through what was to come.

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IV: Depression

#33 Post by Violet » Sat Jun 26, 2021 10:28 pm

"Once I'm done with you, I'm going to kill you.", Violet stated dryly, her face unmoving while his hand stroked gently over her cheek. He smiled, amused.
"My, my. You truly are extraordinary, are you not? A true match.", Lord Emberpath replied. She hated the feeling, like a thousand tingling strokes of lightning on her skin, her own power rousing in excited anticipation.

The air was hot and heavy from the high humidity. The jungle sounded more alive than at daytime. In the distance, further away she could see the lights of Booty Bay. She could also faintly hear the hollers and laughter, catch parts of some songs and shanties. It felt like a lifetime since she was last there. A different life. A better one. A lighter, easier one. One with joy in it. With laughter and song. And now all that was left was ashes, tasting like bone dust on her tongue. She let her long legs dangle from the railing of the poopdeck. She even felt like a different person. Wearing light, black fabric pants and a white shirt that was a little too revealing for her taste. But it helped a little against the tropical climate.
It was hard to alienate herself from everything and everyone. But with every day she felt clearer that she didn't belong. She belonged on a battlefield. She belonged to war. It was all she knew. And once more she was at war. On her personal crusade. And yet... her thoughts remained, as if frozen in time, as she looked down into the little hearthstone in her palm. The one Syra had carved a rune into so long ago - that too felt like another life.
"Speakin' to yer head-voices again, lassie?", Edmund's voice boomed behind her, just as he leaned over the railing, looking at her.
"I thought you ventured off to the bay with the rest to get drunk and humor the whores?", she replied jokingly.
"Nah, had me share of them whores for one lifetime. Besides I find yer tae be much better company."
"And much cheaper, too."
His gruff laugh was a delight, it almost brought something back to life deep inside her. None of them said anything for quite a while, they both just stared at the calm ocean or the stars shining above.
"Yer be different lately.", he finally said, calmly and without any judgment.
"Am I?"
She felt his eyes on her. Their inquisitive, piercing gaze. He could see right through her and she knew it. Yet he didn't push her any further. It was one of the many wonderful things about Ed.
"Yer be sure this is what yer be wantin'?", he finally asked. The question took Violet by surprise.
"Yes. It is all I want.", she replied just as calmly, but very serious, as her filigree fingers stroked over the moonstone of her ring.
"Don't get me wrong lassie, I agree, your revenge be yours tae take all alone. Them deserve tae be slaughtered loike them dirty pigs that they be. But I worry where this be takin' yer.", he ignited his pipe, blowing thick clouds of smoke into the night.
"It takes me where I belong. I don't belong with them. I belong right here, right now. I belong to fighting and battles. I'm nothing like them. Not anymore. I've lost that, and I don't know if it was in a blizzard in Northrend, a cave in Draenor or when I clutched Flints body to mine as he died...", Violet spoke, every word a dagger in her heart.
"Maybe that be why you belong there, with them, all the more. Because they be needin' ya more than yer fancy king. An' because yer be needin' them more than vengeance or war."
She heard the truth and logic in his words. But it didn't mean anything to her - not anymore. She had raised her walls again, a fortress of solitude. An ivory tower.
"All I know is war Ed. All I am good at is killing, plotting, fighting. It is all of me that is left. It is all that came back out of that cave.", she shook her head. The whispers much more distant. She was regaining more and more control by the day. As if that fire, bursting out of her had charred it all away.
"Now that roight there be some proper shite. Yer cast a very warm light on those yer trust, and a very cold shadow on those yer don't. Yer loved Flint and yer still be able to laugh. Yer be alive, yer can be cold once yer be dead, darlin'."
"I don't really feel alive anymore Ed.", she looked at him, and she meant every word. And she could tell that he heard it in her words. "I just want to make them suffer, to kill them all. And I won't stop until the rivers run red. Until they burn to ashes, all of them. That is what I am. That is the monster I have become. The monster I need to be to do those things.", she argued, calmly, her voice so cold and distant, that it almost scared her.
The pirate took a deep drag from his pipe, thoughtful. He took his time before he replied.
"The sun reigns the day, while the night belongs to the moon. Light be castin' a shadow. And neither can be existin' without the other. We all be carryin' both shadow an' light. We all are monsters, we all have done unspeakable things. Be it for honor, vengeance or survival.", he began, rather softly. "Yer be a monster, yes. But yer also be light. Yer good. Yer truly good - that be rare. It only be bad when one of the two sides be growin' bigger."
"I'm not... good Ed. I have done horrible things. Do you not remember that camp? Have you not heard?", she replied, shaking her head. Her heart was aching.
"I have. Have also heard yer made the necessary call. That saved lotsa lives."
"And took even more in the process."
"Doin' the roight thing ain't easy. Sometimes yer have to do terrible things for the roight reasons. Yer not purely a monster. But I worry which side will win. Bloodcrow or Phoenix? Light or dark? None can be stronger than the other, neither be good, yer know? Who are ya?", he asked, but he didn't want to hear the answer right away, as he turned fully to her, gently stroking a stubborn strand of her white hair out of her face.
"Yer still alive, little firebird. So be alive. Take yer revenge, but don' be consumed by it. Yer needed still afterward."
She didn't want to hear any of it. From no one. All she wanted was to kill the sorceres, the Lord, all of those tainted beings. For all they have taken from her. From all they have done to her. They would feel her pain and her rage... a thousandfold. If she had to she would level cities and ignite oceans. She was done being the prey.
"It is growing late. I should sleep.", she swung her long legs over the railing. "Good night Ed."
"I think he be needin' yer too."
She halted for a moment, before shaking her head. "He doesn't.", she spoke coldly. She thought about her talks with Philias, thought about what Eileena and Syra had said, about what Loki said. Even about what Morrigan had told her. And then she thought back to the night of the ball, and once more anger rose within her. "And I cannot care about him. Or them right now.", she added, hoping it would make him go away.
"That be why yer be askin' Ironfur and her lil' apprentice to be on guard?"
She didn't answer. She just left. She had lost all interest in that side of life. In connections. None of it mattered right now. What mattered was the cause. Her duty, and her burden.

Sleep didn't come easily. But she was exhausted, the hot and humid climate only furthering the feeling. And as usual it was riddled with nightmares. Dreams of war and blood. Dreams of the orcs faces, of how she felt her body go limp, how her limbs started to feel cold and lifeless. Dreams of fire, loss and death. But she just couldn't wake up. She twisted and turned on her sheets, cold sweat on her shivering body. But he came. Like he had come every night since she had the ring back. His arms surrounding her. His figure almost ghostly, but his touch feeling so real that she might as well have been wide awake. And the nightmares were gone. Replaced by a comfortable calm. Peace and warmth. A warmth she had longed for so long. One that filled all the cracks and craters within her. She didn't feel how warm the ring grew on her skin - all she felt was him. And that was all that mattered. That and his smile. He never spoke... but words where not needed between them.

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Shadows fall

#34 Post by Violet » Mon Jul 05, 2021 10:58 pm

(Mentions of cruelty and violence ahead. This is not a very nice chapter :o you have been warned! Music that inspired the writing of this chapter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im6wqgSjV74 )

I am sworn to valor.

Gunshots tore the air to pieces, ringing in Violet's ears even from so far away. The little hill was the perfect vantage point. The smell of gunpowder mixing with the noxious, sweet stench of rot in the air. The little village had seen better days. Blood staining the once white wooden boards of some of the houses. Its inhabitants, torn and twisted by the means of necromancy, now fighting against her allies. Alongside the cultists. The light of their spells igniting the night in nefarious colors.

My heart shall only know virtue.

She felt Leth's intense glare on her. She knew he tried to make something out of the emotions on her face - but it was barren. An icy fist still clinging to the beating, frozen heart in her chest. Another village taken. Innocent lives eradicated from this world. More bloodshed, more suffering. She closed her eyes. No more. She called upon the arcane, and it answered. Came to her, willingly. Flooding her veins with its gift, letting them shine in a pale, cool hue of blue through her milky, scarred skin. She marched onward, it was time to stop being a helpless spectator being crushed between the gears of fate. This night she would reclaim control.

My blade shall defend the helpless.

The sharp sounds of metal blades clashing, the burning sensation in her lungs. The screams, shouts, and growls. Death's cruel ballad. And even though the cultists were outnumbered, they somehow began to slowly regain the upper hand. And while the Sindorei had already charged into battle, slinging spells with the wrath of a hundred years, Violet just stood there, amidst the battlefield. Once this might have been a lovely little town. She almost could feel the ghosts of people brushing by, going about their daily business. Laughter and joy - torn from this world.

My might shall uphold the weak.

She spread her arms wide, the magic flowing through her like her own blood. Part of her, and yet ever demanding. The rush of exciting euphoria, as her little birds were called into a physical form. Not the colorful, tropical beings, no. Crows - an entire flock of them, darkening the moonlight with their ashen wings. For a moment they appeared to stand still in the air, before they scattered, attacking the cultists, breaking their focus, filling the air with their sad cries.

My words shall speak only truth.

The spell missed her only by inches. But as she reopened her eyes, she could see those of the young woman, her opponent, widen. Violet knew what she saw. Not the angry crimson, but glowing embers, like the heart of a dying star. Her face still barren, like a dead wasteland. But her mind and hands quick. The elegant movements of her hands followed a blazing barrier - and shortly after, not a breath between it and the firebolt passed.

My wrath shall undo all wicked.

Spells charged the air with the arcane and much more sinister powers, crackling and rumbling, brimming with their might. Violet was relentless, not a moment passed, giving her enemy no time to breathe between endless salves of fire. The beast roaring in anticipation deep within her. It was an arcane blast that sent the cultist flying, hitting the ground hard. Crows still swarming the field. She could see the fear in the eyes of the woman, as she stepped closer. slowly. The battle still raging around her, and yet she didn't hear it. Barely noticed Leth, who almost crashed into her, while fiercely slashing his blades towards one of their undead enemies... villagers. Her target tried to get away from her on all fours, panic taking over. A panic their victims must have felt in their last moments. Before they defiled them.

My knowledge shall defeat ignorance.

The air burned in her lungs, like a savage wildfire. The look in that woman's eyes. That fright. She knew that the end was coming. And yet... she tried to escape. The nature of all things, no matter how tainted. She passed an impaled corpse, the metal of the lance dulled by the elements, but its blade still sharp. She pulled it out. A disgusting, dull, wet sound.
"Please...", the woman begged.
Violet tilted her head, wondering.
"I beg you please!"
The people of this peaceful little village must have begged them too. She wondered... if Rickard begged. Maybe not for his life, but hers... or the ones of his men. So much death. So many innocent lives taken, resting heavily upon her frail shoulders.
"May the light have mercy with you, for I have none.", the spell ran through the piece of metal in her hands, as it plummeted into the figure, right into her heart, ending it quickly. And as the cultist's body turned to ashes, the rest of them began to flee, yelling, hollering. Gathering into the town hall. Predictable. They may have barricaded themselves, but they had also trapped themselves.

My fury shall always be held by mercy and bring only justice.

A flock of magic crows swarmed around the town hall, their crooning echoing far and wide, up to that little hill.
"You have won nothing this day!", the shackled man hissed at her.
She did not answer. The men had gathered, most of them took only small injuries, and the more grievous ones were already been tended to by their tidesage. Edmund and Leth stood by her side, eying the man quietly, waiting for Violet's questions.
"Do you hear me, bitch? You have won nothing! You can't get to them!"
"Is that so?", she asked calmly, her voice as icy as the frozen winds of Northrend.
He scoffed.
"You can't do anything! You need us, but we will never speak! She will get you, and she will kill all you hold dear, she will destroy you! Until nothing is left! And when you beg her for your death, know that it is only the beginning!"
"Hm.", the sorceress tilted her head, as she watched the building from afar. She could feel the magic being cast in there, how it twisted life, defiled it, and tore it apart. But there were no whispers in her head anymore, nothing that was tempted or drawn to these things. The fire had burned it all away. The beast inside her had devoured it, and so it was all that was left. Her mouth was dry and she was tired. Her bones ached, and so did her head. Magic was powerful, a mighty blade to wield, but so very demanding.
"You have lost!"
"Have I now?", she looked over her shoulder.
"Yes! Like you always lose. Just like you lose the people around you. One by one. How they cried and begged for mercy!", he went on, taunting her with his tone. It did not really touch her, but she could not stop her imagination from creating the pictures of those she loved, the ones that were taken from her, begging for their lives, begging for the torment to stop. No more.
"It is only a matter of time till we take your new allies, too! We almost succeeded once! You are weak! Pathetic! What will you do now? Your valor and honor keeping you from going further! Haha! You can't do a single thing you!"
"... Can't I...?", the words barely more than a whisper as she turned around. What did he think she was after? Knowledge? A bargain? He looked up to her, looked into that void, resembling glowing embers. And there it was: uncertainty, doubt... panic.
The sound of crows was gone, the air so quiet one could hear a needle fall. Once more she called upon the arcane, once more it flooded to her, accepting her bargain.
The birds burst into flames, so hot they appeared white and blue, crashing into the building, setting ablaze the dry, worn wood. So many they created countless fire sources - too many to extinguish, too hot to flee. Not long and the agonized cries and screams echoed up the hill. The eyes of the cultist wide, his mouth open.
"You mistake me for the hero.", Violet spoke calmly. She was aware of the look of shock on both Ed's and Leth's faces. They knew she was out for blood. But until then they have not been aware of the vengeance festering within.
"You're mad...!"
And from the flames, a spire emerged, a long tail of fire, licking on the smoldering, black feathers of a crow. Dragging them across the sky, burning embers and ashes raining from it, extinguishing shortly before the familiar landed on Violet's lower arm.
"MONSTER!", he yelled.
Fondly the mage ran her fingers over the bird's feathers - their ends glowing and smoking from dead flames, like those on her shoulder pieces, on one of which the bird now sat. Violet went down on one knee, right in front of the man. She looked into his unnaturally purple eyes. She knew what it meant. Her face came closer to his, their skin almost touching, her full lips close to his ear.
"Takes one... to know one.", she whispered, so soft it almost sounded sweet.
"You are... mad you crazy bitch! I will never talk! NEVER!", he yelled back at her.
"Oh I know.", and with that, she placed a kiss on his cheek, gentle, and soft, but the magic could be felt clearly. The screams below long gone silent. She rose again, to her feet. She did not look back, but placed her palms on both Edmund's and Leth's chests, pushing them back. No doubt that Leth had long gathered the spell she had cast. Long before the glowing rune appeared on the man's cheek, his breath going erratic, as she had turned him into a living bomb.

My aid shall freely be given to those who seek it.

The men stared at the smoldering, smoking spot in the burnt grass. The sweet taste of victory turning to ash in Violet's mouth. Tasting bitter and sour. The emptiness in her heart no less than before. The relief of this little justice... nonexistent.
"Violet!", she did not react to the Sindorei's call. But she did to his hand wrapping firmly around her upper arm, holding her in place. She looked up at him, her eyes still a void of fire. She saw the deep sadness in his green embers. Fel-tainted, but oh so beautiful. He hesitated, taking several breaths before he spoke.
"Is... is this still justice?", he asked, but she did not answer right away. "Or is this just vengeance?"
She recognized the desperation for the right answer, the good answer. The answer he needed to hear to sleep better at night. To mend his worry and fear. But still, she saw no use in lies.
"It is the wrath of countless innocent souls.", she replied, honestly, but her voice still so cold she didn't truly realize it was her own. Leth looked like she had just hit him with a pan straight in his face, he went pale, his lips slightly parted, trying to find words. But finally, he let her go. And the only thing she felt as she left the hill and the village behind was a sting of pain in her heart.

My blood and my life for King and homeland.

She knelt on the hard stone floor, as she spoke those words, so sacred to her. As she took her oath, meaning every word she said, every syllable echoing in tune with her very soul. She was a sword, protector of her people, protector of her family and friends. And if the King, if the Alliance, would call to arms, she would follow. She would always follow. Spilling her blood on the battlefield so others did not need to. Standing tall for all that was good and right. An avatar of justice. A sword and shield to aid and keep those she loved safe.
But as she looked up, on that throne, there was no King, but the Red sorceress, laughing at her. Taunting her. The stairs to that throne littered with the corpses of her loved ones. Blood spilling from it, like rivers, tinting the ground crimson. In her hands, she found her blades. She stood tall. This was it. The end. Here, now. She would take her life, tear her apart, slowly to make it last. No justice, just vengeance. Wrath and unbridled fury. For all she had taken from her. For all the blood, for all the innocent lives. And if she would die in the process, so be it.
Violet twitched as two strong hands stayed her swords. She followed the arms up to Flint's broad shoulders and his face. He stared at her, fearful and worried. Sadness all over his features, drowning those eyes she loved. And he just looked and looked.
"Stop.", he begged her softly, his voice a faraway echo.
"Stop and turn around. You are consumed by your wrath... please Violet... stop...", he continued. She couldn't move - or she didn't want to. She just stared at his face. His amber eyes. Like she had done a thousand times before. His figure so... ghostly.

My blood and life...
My blood and life...

The two-colored pair of eyes shot open, her body drenched in ice-cold sweat, her breath frantic. She shivered, hardly able to sit up. The ring on her skin so hot it was almost painful.

... for vengeance.

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

A grievous wound

#35 Post by Violet » Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:53 am

Was she always this exhausted, back when she was at war? She didn't remember it that way. Has she always been this tired or have her limbs always felt this numb? She couldn't recall. She felt half dead. But the arcane coursing through her veins kept her on her feet. Numb was truly the word that described her state the most accurately.
They had reached another encampment of the cultists. It made her wonder just how many underlings Red had. Just how far her each was. Just how powerful she truly was. It was like a hydra - they cut off one head and two more appeared in its place. It felt like a never-ending crusade to her. A crusade that lasted the better part of a decade, without her even knowing. But now she fought back. Red wanted war? Here it was.

The man, big as a bear, his bulky muscles cleary visible under his scarred skin, charged at her like a mad ox. She saw him too late and hit the ground hard. But she didn't feel fear... nor desperation. She felt nothing emotionally. Just the pain from hitting the dirt and the confusion that followed. Before she could collect herself though, his massive hand grabbed her robes and pulling her up, quickly followed by a meaty fist that hit her face. Again, and again. She felt her nose break, felt the hot blood streaming over her skin. But she was empty. If she just stayed still it all would end right then and there. No more pain, no more fear. No more war. It would be better, it would be easier.
Punch, after punch she suffered, and with it something within her rose. The arcane flooding her veins, she sucked it into her very being like a hungering maelstrom. And she began to feel something. Pain... the pain felt good. It roused the beast inside of her, the life, her will to go on and fight. Another blast, and another, the air becoming charged with magic, feeling like electricity, crackling in anticipation. She opened her eyes, empty voids of glowing embers. The man halted. Violets blood clouded her vision, but she saw the expression of surprise... or was it shock? Shortly before she released it, the wave of raw force, hurling the bulky cultist through the air.
She got back to her feet, the arcane steadying her body where it was shaky, reinforcing it, where it was weak. Draining her in the process. She would kill them all, eradicate their taint. She would let them be consumed by vengeance. Like a conductor, her hands danced elegantly through the air, weaving her spell, fuelling it with everything she had. She would make it rain fire until the rivers ran red. She didn't realize the smile that started to lay over her lips, while the beast inside her roared, all its chains gone. It was free, free to roam, free to break out of her. Like when what felt a lifetime ago. Before she constricted it, before she alienated herself from the magic she so dearly loved.
She didn't notice the Felhunter either, but she very much noticed its noxious bite, burying down in her shoulder, tearing her flesh apart, draining every bit of mana she had. Turning the arcane against her and searing a most grievous wound into her. She tried to struggle, to fight, but all of a sudden her entire strength was gone - blown away in the wind like leaves. Making her body weak where it was strong before, her legs unsteady, her mind cloudy. The noise around her dulled down, became metallic, her field of vision narrowed further and further. She heard her own breath and the blood rushing slower and slower in her ears. Her spell found its immediate death and the mage landed on her knees. She wanted to struggle, but her entire body, every limb, felt like it weighed a ton. And then the world went dark.

When she awoke her surroundings had entirely changed, they held some familiarity. And she was not laying on the cold, hard ground, instead, she was in a bed. She was home, in Stormwind. She felt dizzy. And as she tried to sit up, a paralyzing bolt of excruciating, burning pain shot through her body like angry lighting. It made her groan lowly, weakly. Her throat felt dry and scratchy, like sandpaper.
“Ah finally you’re awake.”, Raive said, a little too cheerful. She hadn’t seen the woman in so long, her presence felt almost unreal.
“What are you doing here?”, Violet asked weakly. Her body was fully drained of any strength it once might have possessed. Her left shoulder throbbing furiously. But someone had taken care of the wound. She was bitten before. She knew how it felt untreated. Yet the work was not finished.
“Watching over you, of course, dear.”, she fluted joyfully.
It took all she had left to sit up fully. The breath rattled in her lungs. She felt sick, weak, nauseous as if she was about to throw up.
“Why am I in Stormwind?”
“Because you have been brought here, stupid.”, Raive just shrugged with a wide, and charming smile.
“Raive… I am not in the mood for games.”, the mage hissed bitterly.
“I am not playing any Violet. But you know… I’m just wondering at which twisted, sick game you are at. And for fucks sake, lay down and rest, will ya?”, she replied, clearly agitated. But Violet didn’t listen, … yet neither did her body. It was just a mass of stubborn, wonky flesh, that didn’t follow her orders. She felt the world shift and spin, she was barely able to stay on her feet.
“For the love of all that is holy! You’re like a… very stubborn old grumpy woman!”, Raive blurted out and rushed to her side to help her remain on her feet. And while she desperately needed the help and support, while she was even thankful for the gesture, she pushed her away. She couldn’t. She couldn’t be weak.
“I don’t need your help.”
“Oh really? Yeah, go on, try yourself, break yer nose again. As I can see everything is goin’ fiiiiine and dandy here, yeah?”, the woman bickered, stepping back, her face holding a hint of anger, but the worry in her eyes betrayed her.
At least her nose didn’t hurt anymore. It didn’t feel swollen.
“If you patched up my nose, you could have done the same for the wound. Why are you here?”, Violet wanted to know again.
Raive just stared at her for a few, long moments. A stare that she held, returned in kind. Until the rogue finally let out a long, annoyed sigh.
“You wanna know why? Because Paws sent me here. Asked me to keep an eye on you. She also healed your wound by the way. Not fully, as you can tell. You’re going to feel this wound Violet, you going to feel it, the pain and what it means. And maybe it’s going to stop you for a few days from going insane! Because that’s what this is! Insanity!”, she snarled at the sorceress. The words just pooling over her lips, waiting to escape. They hit their mark. They hurt. The truth hurt.
“I don’t need any of you to keep an eye on me. I’m fine.”, Violet mumbled, as she gripped her morning robe, awkwardly throwing it over her shoulders. She had to stop to catch her breath after. Anger rose again within her. She couldn’t take this patronizing behavior of everyone around her. Everyone knew better, knew a wiser solution, a clearer path. But the pain was hers to carry, hers alone. It was her, who felt all the dread, the guilt. She had to helplessly watch while all she loved and cared for died like flies around her. And she wouldn’t carry any more of it. She would not risk any more lives for it. It was her war. Her fault.
“Stay as long as you want. You know your way to the guest chambers.”, and with that, she was through the door.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU3R8WODXqM )
Bright, warm light shone through the windows. It must have been around noon, but the house lacked its usual busy demeanor. The portraits on the walls though stared at her, with their judging eyes. Rightfully demonizing her for all her many sins. For all the many lives her decisions had cost and her hands had taken. Guilt weighing down on her like a crushing boulder. No more.
She felt Raives eyes on her, as she followed at a distance, to make sure she didn’t fall or run off. As if she could in her current state. Her hand slid along the wood-paneled wall, looking for support. The true challenge where the steps downward. Even in broad daylight, the entrance hall was dark and gloomy. With its many portraits, the lack of windows, the dark wood everywhere. It was depressing. And yet it was home.
She almost stumbled several times, at what felt like every second stair.
“M’lady!”, Falroc rushed up to meet her on the last quarter, to aid her, but the look she gave him made him stop dead in his track. “Please, let me help you. Should you not rest?”
“I don’t need rest. And I don’t need your help!”, her tone sounded much more hostile and harsh than she intended, even now. His big, straight ears shot back, and his head sunk. As if she just kicked him. But he respected her and went out of her way.
“Perhaps a little repast would aid in your recovery? I think I saw something prepared for you in the kitchen. Let me just go and ge-“, he stopped again, as she walked past him, ignoring him. She didn’t need food. She didn’t want food. She wanted to make way for her study, but unconsciously her wonky legs and unsteady steps led her to the dayroom.
As she stepped through the massive wooden doors, it felt as if she entered a different world. Light shone through the high windows brightly. Illuminated the leaves of her many plants and flowers, letting their petals appear much more radiant. She looked out of those windows, into the little garden. Just a year ago they put the grand table outside and held a feast. One filled with laughter and joy. With her friends. That felt like it belonged to a life she no longer had. A life she longed for. She longed for cheerful banter, the laughter of her friends, who made this dreadful and empty place brim with life and joy. To chase out the loneliness it held.
It was then she caught her reflection in the polished glass. The shadows underneath her eyes were dark, her skin pale and parchment-thin, so the veins were clearly visible in some places. Her eyes were dull, bi-colored as she didn’t have the strength to let her magic flow freely. The person that stared back from her reflection there was an utter stranger. Someone she didn’t recognize.
Fatigue washed over her, so the natural path was to one of the cozy sofas. She fell on it. Too soft. Something shuffled next to her. A little, flat basket. Filled with yarn balls and a pair of silver knitting needles. Still holding what she started shortly before her world began to fall apart. Half of a black, woolen sock. Because… one should always have a spare pair of socks. Her frail fingers reached out, running over the individual loops, each woven with care. It was such a mundane thing. Such a little, tiny thing. But it made something inside of her cringe in pain. It almost robbed her of the air in her lungs, she sobbed from the absence of it. No… not because she lacked air… something hot and wet on her cheek. She touched it with the very same fingers. A tear was what she stared at in disbelief for long moments.
“Mistress…”, a pair of bright, vibrant green eyes stared at Violet from the darkness of the corner. James. Cautiously he stepped closer. He felt what she felt. They were one and the same. He was part of her. He was different from Ember. Ember was a symbol, a metaphor. A message. A lifeless husk serving a purpose. While James was… he was home. The first truly powerful spell she had ever cast. And he just sat there, on the table in front of her, not speaking, not staring. Just being. She looked at him, his silky smooth, black fur, the ridiculously big hat, with its giant, fluffy plume. She was so exhausted, so weak. She felt as if she had caught the flu. Her lids grew heavier by the second.
She must have fallen asleep because when she opened her eyes again, the world outside was dark. A cuddly blanket was wrapped around her, a comfortable weight on her lap – James, napping. On the table in front of her sat a little teapot – the liquid inside long grown cold. And a tray of sugary cookies. Her favorite. Falroc sitting in the chair across, amidst reading a book. His eyes though were resting on her. And they looked at each other for a long time – in silence. A single sigh crossed her lips.

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

What comes after

#36 Post by Violet » Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:21 am

She walked away from that little cliff rock. Why did she hesitate? Her heart was beating fast in her chest, the blood rushing through her veins, just like in battle but this felt... different. Better? No! Why was it so hard to contain her breath, keep her feet walking straight, back to her gryphon? This should be easy. She was furious. Angry. She was looking for a fight, but she didn't get one. The pain in her shoulder was throbbing angrily. She cursed Lishandriel in her mind. She wasn't just 'letting her feel the pain', she was keeping her on a short leash. She wasn't able to cast or hold any spells. Wicked, cruel woman.
Don't - it was such a simple little word. Why was it caught in her throat? Why didn't she just punch him when she had the opportunity? She should have burned him. She should have molten his mouth shut. In most of their private encounters, she wasn't quite sure if she wanted to kiss him or kill him. Recently she leaned more towards the killing though. She should have punched him. Hard. She couldn't let him get in the way, again. She couldn't let any of them get caught between her and Red. It would only end in bloodshed, in losing people she cared about. She couldn't. So there was no place for many thoughts. No place to consider his words, infuriating as they had been wrapped.
Her fingers grazed along the neck of her gryphon. She had no time for this. No time for him. He would just get in the way again. Change her mind, manipulate her. She couldn't let him, not this time. And yet... she looked back to that little rock. Zounderkite... What was she doing...?

"M'lady.", Falroc bowed his head politely, as she strode through the main entrance. She was done hiding in Dalaran. She was not the prey anymore. Now she was the huntress. For the first time in years, she felt powerful. Strong, independent. Just not right now - the wound made sure of that. The Archdruid made sure of that. She was stalling - but why? She was tired, a Felhunter bite could take out a mage for quite some time. Even though the wound was healing properly on its own, it messed with her magic. And it would remain so until it was mostly gone. She would have to take care of that. Soon.
"The Archdruid she...", but Violet already knew where to find her ... friend. She stepped outside, into the little garden, cramped between the mighty stones of houses - and yet brimming with life. Flowers, exotic, tropical birds.
"Have you come to finish your work or to just make sure your leash is still in place?", Violet spoke cooly.
The golden eye stared at her from the tree, as the graceful, slender feline climbed out of it. She wasn't afraid. She too was all smoke and mirrors, like most people. Like Nomine. She wasn't intimidated by it. She raised her chin, she wouldn't let her weakness show.
"I came to make sure you are alright. Save your hostility for your enemies, not those undeserving of it.", the Kaldorei replied dryly.
"Well you have seen that your mockery is still firmly in place and I am well and alive."
"Alive yes... well? Not so much, little bird.", her movements were so brute, and yet they held such a calm grace within them. Was it present in all Kaldorei? She never truly paid attention.
The mage had her fill of know-it-all behavior for one single night. And so a heated and one-sidedly hostile argument broke out between them. Raw emotion met cool, calculating strategy. She couldn't tell how long they have been at it, before Falroc interrupted them once more.
"What?!", she snarled - immediately part of her felt sorry for that outburst.
"Lord... Emberpath has arrived.", he spoke and did a bad job at hiding his dislike, his hostility towards the man.

"What are you doing here?", she demanded to know, her voice aggressively cold.
"Why, do I have to have a reason to see the most ... radiant pearl in all of the Eastern Kingdoms my darling?", he purred reaching for her hand to place a wet kiss on its back, yet before he could she would violently pull it away.
"State your business.", she replied, walking around her desk and sitting down in her chair - glad for the relief of sitting. Don't show weakness, she reminded herself. Don't let the sharks sense the blood in the water.
"You look unwell - are you ill?", he asked curiously, eyeing her closer, leaning over that desk with this disgustingly charming smile of his. The power he radiated extending to her. She needed it. Just a drop of it. Just to make her feel less... brittle. Just to soothe it all a bit... just for a moment.
"Whatever might you mean? I assure you I am perfectly fine. I have just returned from training, my outstanding abilities do not sharpen themselves, you know?", Violet spoke in her most diplomatic, arrogant tone, leaning back casually. "So...? What is your business?"
"I see...", he purred, a little too dragged. "Why of course to keep my word. I am... a man of my word after all.", he added, with another smile, conjuring a little piece of parchment between his index and middle finger. She glared at him, annoyed, disgusted, drawn to him. To his power, to the arcane surging through the veins just beneath his skin. Just a little bit of that power...
She took it, and as their skin touched, it was like a spark of lightning rippling through her. Echoing within the emptiness. She did her best to conceal her excitement as she unfolded it. Coordinates. Her eyes shifted from the neat and tidy letters and numbers up into the face of the elf.
"I found it fitting, it reached my pointy, perfectly shaped little ears that you prefer traveling by ship nowadays, my sweet little tideskipper.", he wiggled his brows, she wanted to throw up.
"I wonder where you might have gotten that from.", she said, placing the parchment flat in front of her. "How many more?"
"Oh a little seagull tweeted it to me. Not many, you are really... avid in thinning out her ranks. I like your way of dealing with things. You have a very... firm hand in such things, don't you? Can't wait to learn what else those hands could do.", he purred seductively - she just felt even sicker.
"Good, was that all then?"
"Sadly...", he tilted his head, pouting his perfect lips. Violet saw nothing attractive in him. Not physically at least. Too perfect, too sleek, too pretty. The arcane however... again a jolt of lightning shot through her as his fingers trailed along her slender neck. "You... have a lovely neck, my dear. Can't wait to adorn it with the finest of golds and jewels. You'll do nicely.", he showed another smile, before he slipped his behind off the desk.
"I will see you so very soon - and yet I can't wait.", were his parting words. She watched him leave, he turned his back to her. Brave... or dumb.
"Yes, my love?"
"I stand by my word too, you know? I will... kill you.", she said calmly.
He flashed a grin. "Oh but of course you will, you wild little thing!"
Lord Emberpath left the manor, not a care in the world since of course, he was the crown of creation. No one matched his abilities. No one's power was a threat to his. Or his hubris. He didn't notice the shade of the silent wings above, watching, following. Tracking.

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

No way home

#37 Post by Violet » Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:36 am

Violets eyes were closed, as she sat at the table, her head supported by one hand resting against her head. Her skin felt cold, and it was a welcome thing against her throbbing brain. She was waiting. To finally rid herself of this affliction, this weakness. But salvation was not yet to arrive, instead, it was the Archdruid. She didn't need to open her eyes, she would recognize the intense scent of forest everywhere. The near-silent steps.
"Here for another discussion?", she askes tiredly.
"Here to make sure you are still alive.", she replied calmly, the natural growl still held in her voice.
"Oh wonder I am. Where have you been?", she didn't really want to talk, but she couldn't take the quiet emptiness much longer either. The path to hell was not only paved with good intentions, yet also with a lot of loneliness.
"Stormwind. Your friends are not happy about you trailing off on your own.", she stated bluntly, tilting her head, watching the mage's every reaction. Do not show weakness, she reminded herself again.
"Really? Curious how they have found out about that.", she replied, dryly, opening her eyes and staring at her friend. Her face was deliberately kept empty.
"What does matter more? That they have found out or that you drive those close to you away because you refuse their help?", her words were calm, but sharp as daggers.
"Refuse their help? I'm trying to protect them. And I rather have them hate me but be alive to do so.", she hissed back.
"Most of them looked more than able-bodied enough to me. They even call an Illidari their own now.", Lishandriel stated, and didn't get an answer for a bit, so she decided to fill that silence further. "Are you? Protecting them? Or is part of it your desire for revenge?"
"What is that supposed to mean?", Violet didn't even realize that she was on her feet now.
"They have taken a life that was yours before, no?", she began, but her voice, collected as it might have been, sliced right through the sorceress' composure. "I know you want to save them. I know you want to keep them from harm. But is it not maybe that you wish her life to be yours alone as well?", she continued, the tone challenging. "To avenge all those she has taken from you? To make her pay? And you can't have anyone between, can you?"
Violet clenched her fists, the thick leather protecting her palms squeaking lowly in the process.
"She ... has taken enough from me. She took Rickard, she took my family, she took my friends, she took Flint. She tried to take Nomine, she tried to take my new friends. Tried to take Starlight, again and again, but the only constant in that equation is me. So yes, I decided to take myself out of it. To protect those I care for. So don't you dare stand here all high and mighty and judge me!", she hissed, anger rising within her, the magic rising within her, the beast coiling and panting. It wanted out. But the wound quickly began to throb. "And yes, I desire her life, more than anything. And it belongs to me, for everything she has taken, everyone she has killed. I owe them that much!"
"Oh, you owe them? What exactly do you owe them? A life of loneliness? You cannot take her on your own, and you know. And it angers you, it makes you furious, doesn't it?", the druid poked further - today, she was out for a fight. And Violet was more than willing to give her one.
"They are dead because of me. Because she wants to get to me. And the least I can do is repay them in kind.", Violet spoke, low, slow, riddled with anger. "I'm not letting her take anyone else. This is a thing between her and me."
"It stopped being between you and her the moment she attacked your friend. The lone saber dies but the pack-"
"I don't have any nerve for tedious analogies!", she interrupted the druid, surprised herself about how quickly she lashed out. The Kaldorei halted, eyeing her with that piercing, golden gaze of hers. For a while actually, narrowing it, considering her, weighing her.
"Then there is nothing more to say tonight, little bird.", she half-growled. "But I shall leave you with this: you still have time to turn around, you still have time to let that rage go. Lest you be consumed by it.", and with that, she turned, and left.
And just when Violet thought she had some peace and quiet now, the Druid was quickly replaced by Leth... and Ren'Dorei.
"Ah I wondered when you might come.", she spoke, trying to wrestle down her hostility and rage.
"Came as soon as I could. You're not the only one demanding my talents.", the woman replied with a shrug and a charming smile.
"Very well, shall we get on with it?"

She was laying on the bed, her robe pulled down, bearing the halfway healed bite. Leth stood in the corner, his arms crossed, his expression like stone. Yet she saw him grinding his jaw or chewing on the inside of his lip. A habit she herself had.
"Hm... doesn't look too bad. Shouldn't take too long but, I must warn you. Shadow-mending is no pleasant process. Neither for body, nor the mind. Are you sure you want to go through with this?", the priestess asked.
"I can take it."
She tilted her head but nodded, taking off her silken gloves.
"If you need to scream - and you will, let it out. It won't get any better.", the woman warned, as she placed her comfortably warm hands on the mage's shoulder.
"I can't... I can't watch you do this!", Leth suddenly blurted out, staring at her, with a flicker of hope in his eyes that she might stop. But she just stared right back. Not wavering. Not turning back. There was no way back. No way home. And so, desperation washing over his face, he sighed, and walked out.
The priestess hesitated, looking after Leth, then back to Violet. But the mage just nodded.

The feeling was nice. Soothing, like cold water on burned skin. She let out a sigh of relief, just as the pain started to kick in. Sharp as a thousand blades, intense as fire, like nothing she had ever felt before. She felt the wound closing, but her flesh melted in the process. Her breath sped up, her body revolting, shivering, trying to get away, to make the pain stop. She held the scream down, with all her might, but it escaped her regardless. Even to her ears, it sounded gruesome. This was no mending, this was torture. She felt the shadows seep in, like ink into clear, calm water, slowly forming dark clouds as they sank to the bottom.
Anchor yourself!
The voice in her head demanded fiercly. She was not to succumb to that wicked darkness again. She could take it. She had to. She squeezed her eyes shut.

The wind was blowing through her hair, destroying parts of her hairdo - but she didn't really mind. The air was full of salt and adventure. The crashing of the waves beneath against the sturdy hull of the ship. In the far distance the dense, dark clouds were starting to form a vicious storm. And even though she was high at sea, she didn't feel the slightest inkling of fear. For it was trust she had felt.
"How do you know if you'll make it out?", she asked curiously.
"Huh?", Flint replied shifting his amber eyes to her, immediately his expression softened.
"The storms. How do you know that you will get out? I have never seen any sailor willingly sail right into a storm. Not like you. So... how do you know?"
"I just do.", he shrugged with a charming grin.
"You never
just do something."
"Guess I'm just
tha' good.", he chuckled with a distinct rasp, coming from smoking too much and drinking too much rum. "I think... it is somethin' yer just have in ya blood. Like... yer know like how ya know after some time just by instinct where north and true north is.", he shrugged again. Taking amusement in the fact that he saw the disappointment in her face. Such a mundane answer. "An' by the dolphins, of course."
"The ... dolphins?"
"Yup... Tideskippers tae be exact."

Another scream wriggled out of her throat. She felt ill, she wanted to throw up. Her entire body was glazed in a thin layer of ice-cold sweat. Every breath hurt. It felt like she was not just melting her skin, but she boiled her blood, scorching her bones. Her fingers helplessly dug into the sheets, clenching them in her shaking hands. Just a little longer. You can take it.

"There!", he had helped her up to the bow, so she could look over the edge.
"Where? All I can see is water!", she replied, awfully aware of his presence.
"Nah! Look closer!"
And so she stared down, and she stared and stared - the first droplets of rain already hitting her occasionally. But suddenly she saw. Just beneath the surface. Shimmering, sleek scales, moving with the waves, just beside the ship. As fast as the vicious wind and as graceful as the does in the woods, one of the tideskippers broke through the surface, the yellow marks on its sides vibrant. She didn't know why but the view filled her with such excitement. Never had she seen something like this. She just giggled.
"I can see them!"

Violet felt the shadows nagging on the borders of her sanity, trying to bite and claw their way inside. The pain weakened her, messed with her focus, with her mind. She thought it was unbearable before, but it only got worse and worse. She felt like she was about to pass out. She couldn't. Just a little longer. You. can. take. it. You must endure.

"Out there it's different. Here the worst that can happen is a bruise from the wooden swords. A sprained ankle.", she spoke loudly, clearly, so all the new recruits could hear her. "Out there much worse is waiting for you. And I will not sugarcoat it. Death is waiting for you there. There is no shame in feeling fear."
They were all too young. They should be at home, working the fields, falling in love, making stupid mistakes. When they ran out of soldiers, they started to send the farmers, and once they had run out of farmers too... well. A young boy, maybe 17, in the first row raised his hand.
Too skinny...
"Yes private...?"
"Miller, Ma'am.", he began, his voice was so thin... "I uh...", he looked around, scanning the faces. His beard couldn't really be called one yet. He was just old enough to be called a man, but somehow still... a child. "I... I uh... I was just wondering if it isn't actually bad to feel fear? I mean... you possibly can't out there, can you?"
Violet couldn't help the motherly expression that sneaked upon her features for a moment. She licked her lips, taking a moment to answer. Looking into all of their faces, individually.
"That is a good question, private Miller. But the truth of it is... that we all are afraid. Facing the enemy, knowing they can afford to hesitate just as little as you can? That is a scary thing. Fear is good, it keeps you alive, but you must not let it rule over you. If you do, it will cloud your judgment. It might paralyze you, out there you cannot afford to falter or hesitate. It might endanger others. Fear is not the only emotion you will be confronted with. There is also anger, maybe at the loss of your friends. Just as dangerous, for it can make you charge into battle without thought. It is easy to be overcome by grief and rage. Vengeance is never the answer. You must harness those feelings, make it your armor. Your sword and shield, but never your advisor.", she explained - knowing full well how much easier this was said than done.
They all just looked at her, some swallowing heavily. There was no use in lying to them. They had to know what might come. She hoped dearly, that the war might come to an end before they were sent into battle. But she also knew that the chances were... slim.
"B-but what can you do out there then?", he wanted to know, hope in his eyes. Hope...
She looked at Falroc, standing right next to her in his heavy, dull but well-kept armor. He too searched for her eyes. They both knew that more than half of them would not see the next solstice. Maybe not even the next month.
"You don't die.", Falroc spoke gruffly, straightening his shoulders. Violet nodded, turning away.
"Get your weapons and form groups of two! C'mon! Faster!", she heard him bark behind her. He would prepare them, best as he could. And she hoped it was enough...

She had failed them. Those young men and women, her husband, Flint, her family. They all were long dead, and she was still here. It was not fair. But life was not fair. Life was never fair. She felt stronger now, that the wound was closed. The memory of pain was still etched into her brain vibrantly though. The cool ocean breeze felt good. The low creaking of the ship was soothing.
"Tough night.", Ed spoke beside her, offering her his flask of rum. She shook her head.
"Tough night.", she agreed.
For a while, there was nothing but comfortable silence between them. But it was the older pirate that broke it.
"Have ya thought 'bout the treasure?", he asked casually, leaning over the wooden railing, gazing over to the Booty Bay.
"I have. Relic hunting?", she raised her brows and looked at him. "For all we know it might just be another fish story."
"Might be, aye. Might be real though. Might help yer."
"How is it, that these things always start with the rumor of treasure, move on to some island hidden behind a wall of storms, and contain a magical artifact of significant power or ... mountains of gold?", she asked sarcastically. It felt good to talk to him. It felt less lonely. She was... lonely.
"Because yer doesn't go out there fer fishbones an' tae promise of a mermaid's kiss.", he replied with a gruff chuckle.
"Mermaids? Really?", she raised her brows.
"Oh aye, they be real! 'Ave seen one meself few years back!"
"I think what you have seen is the bottom of one too many bottles of rum.", she answered with a little smile. He looked at her for a moment and then laughed, it was more a rough bark, but it sounded warm and inviting, made you want to just go along.
"Glad tae see yer sense of humor still be there. Loiked yer better back then.", he saw the look on her face, obviously deciding to not dig deeper. "So... whats tae plan?"
She pondered a few moments - what was the plan?
"It's a trap.", she stated plainly.
"So we're goin' to countertrap 'im, roight?"
"No... I am going to do exactly what he expects. I will walk right into it.", she then looked up to him. "And you will remember the promise you gave me at his grave."
Edmund let out a long-drawn sigh. "Say it.", she pressed again, she needed to hear it, she needed to be sure.
"I will get tae men out, I will abandon ya tha moment thae tide turns. I do not try tae help ya, I turn away an' leave... but that's nah fair! I cannae just leave ya! Yer think he would have left ya?", he seemed frustrated, his tone slightly angry. He was a man of his word, and she used it. She had to, to know he was safe. Because she knew he would keep it.
"He is not around anymore...", she just left him standing there, returning to the loneliness of her little quarters on the ship. What she asked of him, of them, it was not fair. But life... was not fair.

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

The price of vengeance

#38 Post by Violet » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:15 pm

The Arcane was part of the very fabric of creation. It is found within everything that is, that lives. It flows through the nooks and cracks like water. Leaving traces wherever spells were cast. Leaving traces wherever it was magnified. Wielding it is a grand and magnificent gift. Yet one demanding a gruesome price in return.

The breeze was calm and the waves crashed softly against the hull of the ship. The air was impregnated with the scent of salt and freedom. It was something she used to enjoy. But now Violet's gaze was set on the horizon. Her muscles tense, her jaw grinding. She missed Stormwind, she missed her friends... she missed him. But she could not endanger them any further. The assassins had been an important lesson. A display of just how far Red's reach was. A painful reminder of all that she could lose. She wasn't willing to lose any more. She wasn't willing to spill more innocent blood. Her body was at the brink of breaking down. She didn't sleep anymore, she had no anchor, she was lost. Lost in that ocean of guilt. She rather wanted them to hate her, but to do so in safety, alive.
"So... what be the plan, missy.", Ed's gruff voice finally spoke up next to her.
What was the plan? She didn't quite know either. She just moved in the only direction she knew: forward. Relentless, unwavering, without mercy.
"Cultists first, then treasure hunting.", she replied finally. Maybe it was nothing but fish tales. Like mermaids and sea serpents. But there was some truth in most stories. And Violet needed to get stronger. She needed to make sure she would survive through this. A magical artifact might just supply her with those things. But first, she had to deal with the lord.
On the horizon the shadowy shape of the town formed, getting clearer with every mile they sailed closer. So far away... and still she could feel the magic coursing there. She could feel him.
"Get ready.", she heard herself say, as she marched to the captain's quarters.
Her steps were steady, much steadier than she felt. She was scared and nervous, and she prayed to the Light that Starlight would not come looking for her. But once more the light would not answer her pleas.
As she secured the daggers and swords on her brand-new war robes she caught a glimpse of her in the mirror. Was her hair always this dull? Where the bags underneath her eyes always this dark? Have her eyes always been this dim and empty? Her skin always this parchment-like? She couldn't remember. She couldn't care. Not right now. She was at war.
Violet's long, filigree fingers wrapped around the dagger hilt. Its weight so familiar, so comforting. A memento. A gift. She could almost smell the scent of Winter Veil spices in the air, the memories tugging painfully on the borders of her mind. She sheathed the blade, hesitantly letting go of it. She remembered gentle hands.
Once more she unrolled the parchment, scanned the letters on it, to make sure they were really there.

Lord Cerulian Magnus Leovelion Tyniarsen Kredis Emberpath the second shall be hereby stripped of all his titles and accolades.
Furthermore, it is declared that on the charges of

High treason
War crimes
Theft of corpses
Conspiring with unknown enemies of both Crown and the Circle
The murder of Archmage Brinesteel as well as at least 68 other subjects
Crimes against the holy laws of magic

the subject is declared outlawed and sentenced to death.

The purple wax with the Kirin Tor's sigil underneath was painfully visible on the brownish document. Another gift.

"Did you think anything happens in this town without us knowing? We have been long after him. But thanks to your little group of friends he was busy long enough for our agents to secure enough evidence. What do you think they might have done to you? Even with the rising suspicions against him, he was still one of us."

She heard Persiphora's voice loud and clear in the back of her mind. Violet knew the Archmage was right - but she wouldn't even have spared it a second thought. Was she so consumed in her rage and lust for vengeance that she left the path of honor without even noticing? But what was honor really worth? Even honor couldn't bring back the dead.

"So it is here we will strike. Fast and without mercy - they have shown none to the townsfolk either.", Violet spoke, a map of the small town before her, her finger pointed on the square.
"Be on your guard, as far as we know, every living soul in there has been damned into the unlife, being firmly under their control. We will not only be facing cultists.", Leth spoke, his hands crossed behind his back, authority oozing from his military stance. Everything about him a sharp and deadly weapon.
"Aye, an' a few demons as well.", Ed contributed. Violet looked over the faces of her people. They all were ready, they all knew what they were stepping into. But she also knew that Ed would keep his promise. He would get them out as soon as the tide turned. He would abandon her, as he promised.

The rain enhanced their cover, made it easier to sneak behind the city gates unnoticed. It also helped with the illusion. Her flock of crows swarmed the battlefield, giving the spellslingers a hard time. Making it hard to focus. And with the fog it created the illusion that she actually stepped out of the flock, being formed by it. She could see the fear in their eyes. Fear... cuts deeper than the sword.
They had the element of surprise and it didn't take long. It was a carnage of spells, fire, blades, and teeth. But nothing was left but blood and corpses. She did not take any joy in it - not anymore. The joy and euphoria of victory had long since turned to bitter, dry ash. All this was, was duty. A grim and terrible duty she owed to all those who had lost their lives amidst this feud.

"Our spies have reported that they keep the children here, in front of the cathedral. What can you tell us about it, Angus?", she turned her head to the rogue.
"It's ano'er encampment, bigger than the one at the square bu' less alchemical stuff layin' 'round. Them be havin' the little ones perched up loike goats. Occasionally gettin' one out, sendin' it to tae Cathedral.", he explained in his thick Freehold accent.
"The goal is clear, get the survivors out, onto the Spiteful to safety. Leave none behind. On our mark, you stir her into the sound."

"Violet!", she heard the voice, loud and clear, she turned, just in time to see the hammer flying, hitting the undead abomination that launched for her. Immediately it combusted into flames - so vastly different from her own. Bright golden and clear, almost painful to look at. It held a bite to it, it didn't have before. But there was no time to ponder, no time to worry. Wavering, halting could mean death. And so the slaughter continued. She felt the blood streaming down one side of her face, felt the gash in her left tight. It didn't stop her. She let the arcane run through her in wide, wild rivers. She didn't care what it cost her. She saw the children being herded down to the mighty ship - no more harm would befall them. It was a small comfort, but nothing could undo the horrors they had lived through. But Violet would make sure their losses and pain were paid ​for in blood.

"The Cathedral... that's where he will be hiding. It's easy to hold, only one entrance as far as we know. He will be waiting for us there. That's where his trap will be placed.", she looked up from the map. Only Ed, Leth and Raife left in the room. "It is vital that you let me deal with him alone. I can't be burdened by worry. And I can't let you risk your lives for this."
"What we risk our lives for is our business alone, dear.", Raife spoke, casually throwing one of her small daggers, catching it, throwing it again.
"I agree, going in there alone is madness. You are too weak right now. You have stretched your powers too thin. Together we can take him down!", Leth agreed, smashing one of his fists on the table, softly, leaning over it. Ed just stood in the corner, his arms crossed.
"This is exactly what he is expecting.
This is the trap."

A great wave of relief washed over her, as her companions left the Cathedral. Leaving her with Cerulian. His smile disgusted her.
"Just the two of us now, my beloved.", he purred. "Finally, after all this time, I have you just for my very own."
The wound on her leg hurt, but her stride was straight and graceful nonetheless. This was it. She would make it quick. He was strong, stronger than her, so she needed to be faster, smarter. Her heart was racing in her chest, the blood rushing through her ears loudly. Her armor felt heavy, ill-fitting, constricting her. It was hard to breathe. She passed the corpses of the last remaining cultists - he didn't even care about them. And she couldn't either.
Anchor yourself. Rid yourself of fear.
As their spells clashed she felt something. A feeling getting stronger as the whipping sound of roaring thunder echoed far and wide. A small little remnant of her own magic, calling to her. Drawing her in. Beckoning her.

The Arcane had a habit of leaving its traces wherever it had been. Like the drifting embers of a wildfire, floating through the air, carried by the wind. Staying alive, even after the fire had been seized. It settled in all the little nooks, cracks, and between the meshes. It remained for a while before it was gone forever.

She was on her knees, breathing frantically. She had given all, but it was in vain. He was stronger. He hadn't overspent for so long as she did. He didn't push his body so far over its limits. Didn't wear himself out over such a prolonged period.
"Finally on your knees... where you belong.", he said smugly, taking the steps down, a collar in hand. She already knew what the golden letters on it would state. "Now isn't this easier?"
She barely felt her limbs, everything was numb, alien. Her body finally was crashing down. She tried to cast a spell, but it just wouldn't work, no matter how desperate she attempted.
"But worry not, we haven't forgotten about your little friends. They too will serve. Most of them likely as experiments though. Some really outstanding specimens there.", he went on. She had to do something. This couldn't be it. Be smarter... be quicker.
"She doesn't know, does she?", Violet asked. And it worked, he stopped in his tracks, his look curiously resting on her.
"Know what?"
"That we have her soulstone.", she replied. Keep him talking, buy yourself time to think.
"It does not matter. I will retrieve the soulstone, and with capturing you my little bird I will rise within our ranks and become her favored.", his words were sleek, and she almost believed him. "But first... I shall have a little fun with you."
The soulstone.
It suddenly hit her like Gaiford's hammer. She had never destroyed one, but she knew that the magic needed to create one was extensive. She had no way of knowing, no way to be certain. So this might have very well been a hail Mary.
"Let me assist you then, now that you have won fair and square.", Violet pulled out the necklace from one of her satchels, letting him see it. His eyes widened - was it excitement?
"Such a good girl. I knew you would see reason. It is easier that way, isn't it?", he let out an amused laugh, coming closer.
Her fingers found the hilt of the dagger. A valuable gift. Please work...
"What are you doing there... what are... NO!!!"
The sound was that of shattering glass, the cracks spreading over the surface, the magic within coursing angrily in a thick, fel green hue. It took only seconds, but it felt like hours. The orb shattered, killing the remnant of lifeforce within and setting free the magic in its core. The sound tore through the air like lightning, deafening, the reflux so strong that it created a physical wall of air that lashed out, crashing against the walls of the chapel, splintering the wood of the beams. The echo of the spell soaring even further, powerful and strong. In the eye of that storm, Violet was safe, but Lord Emberpath was hurled through the air, landing on the altar, his back giving off a disgusting crack as it hit the corner of the sturdy wood.
She felt dizzy, her ears rang and the world wobbled like jelly around her. She had lost her sense of orientation, her hand still firmly clutching the dagger. It worked. She barely managed to get to her feet. Awaiting another attack that never came. He just hung on that altar there, his muffled, painful sounds filling the air. He can't move...
It was done. Over. What comes after...? She would bring him before the Kirin Tor, letting him stand trial for all his many crimes, watching him be executed for them. Letting her fellow mages do their works and get all the necessary information out of him. It was real, true justice. It was... over. He wouldn't harm anyone ever again.
Slowly, exhaustedly she took the steps up to him. But he didn't gargle in pain, he... laughed.
"D-do you think this is it? This is merely the beginning!", he spat, his lower half, his arms, hanging limp from his body.
"No... this is the end. Your end."
He just laughed again, amusement being so very present in his features. "Just like the end came for your beloved? Twice if I remember correctly? First the paladin, then the pirate. Wide range you have m-my dear!"
She halted, her breath caught in her throat. He knew.
"I h-heard he begged for his life, your husband. Or was it yours? I can't remember. It was quite amusing t-to watch. Please... please spare her, take from me what you will!", he imitated Rickards voice. Her body began to shiver.
"The pirate took it much better I heard. Shame, w-would h-have loved to see it. See you fall apart. I wonder how your new band of lost souls will fare.", her eyes strayed over to the pile of collars, scattered next to the altar from the reflux. She recognized the names on them. Rage was building up within her. Writhing around her body like a constricting snake. White, hot fury. The beast within her roared, crashing against the walls of the cave she had banished it to. Let it out. Let go... surrender yourself to the arcane...
"W-wonder how y-your shadow would have fared. M-my mistress is very good at t-taking what you love, wouldn't you agree?", Cerulian added another laugh.
The Arcane was the order in this world. It made all the pieces fall into their designated places. She did not need order. She needed chaos, rage and fury. Her fists clenched, she tried to fight it. but there was no way. She had lost so many... no more. Gone because of her weakness... no more. Dead because she was too weak to fight, to protect them. No. More.
"Love...?", she growled, stepping closer. She called the magic towards her, drew on the ley lines, she let it flow through her weakened body. And it filled all the little nooks, the scars, scratches and cracks, made them overflow. And finally that beast was fully free. It roamed and roared, flexed its claws.
"I have no more love. You have taken this from me.", she snarled, as she brought her body over his, cowering over him, looking deeply in his eyes. She felt that familiar tugging, the beckoning. It came closer. Stop... don't, this is not you...
She took delight as his eyes widened, staring into the voids of ember flame that hers had become. She bowed down.
"You have torn my heart out. And all there is, is a bottomless void of fury, emptiness. I have nothing left to lose, nothing for you to take.", she whispered. "But it is so hungry... you don't know how it feels, do you?"
She sat back up, his breath became erratic. She was overjoyed. "P-please...", he chocked out - the amusement wiped from his features.
"Let me show you."
This moment, she felt truly strong. Everything that was weak or brittle filled with magic, enhanced by it. She placed the clawed tips of her gloves on his chest. The amount of arcane needed was immense. She just let it run through herself. And she pushed. Glaring into his eyes, she wanted to see the fear, the pain... she wanted to see the light leaving them. Like they left Flint's. He twitched and screamed - but she didn't stop. She grabbed his heart and tore it out of him, blood streaming down her hand, her arm, it sullied her robes with crimson, hot life. His eyes were wide open, in shock. The air around her heating up so much that her breath left curling little clouds in the air.

She didn't know how much time had passed. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? It was Ember's cries that tore her out of it. She stared at all the blood, at the heart in her hand. Fear began to spread up her back. She felt so awfully weak. Like she was falling apart. Her breath burned in her lungs. What had she done? As she turned her head over her shoulder she saw them through her flock of crows. Eritis, his bow raised. She heard Chit's voice. They looked at her in disbelief, was it maybe fear? He didn't lower his bow. And a sharp sadness took over her. Painful.
Good... look at me... fear me... despise me... stay away from me and be safe...
It was what she wanted, wasn't it? What she desired? For them to be safe... and the only way to achieve that was for them to stay away. But they just wouldn't... they wouldn't abandon her. Why wouldn't they just see reason? She couldn't lose them too... not this way. She couldn't let them get harmed or die... but she also couldn't bear the look in their faces. And so she called for Ember, reached for him.

Frantically she tried to wash the blood off her gloves and robes in the little stream. It wouldn't go away. She felt a mix of panic and shame. She had lost control. She shivered, her breath shaky and panicked. And when she called for her magic... it didn't answer.

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

The beyond

#39 Post by Violet » Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:50 pm

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ClXQkIeIs inspiration for this, really short, chapter :) )

There, on this field of blue, in this surreal and new Unknown, he stood on the grass, soft as feathers. Illuminated by eternal moonlight, ominous yet soothing. Like not a day had passed. Here, in the in-between, neither time nor life nor death mattered. Time stood still, and so did their breaths. Was there even a need to breathe at all? Out of habit she did. Noticing the scent of ... mead... and cigar smoke, black powder... ocean and... freedom. Familiar and warm, like home. Home...
Her legs remained firmly rooted onto the ground, like those twisted, strangely beautiful trees around her. She shivered, suddenly feeling naked, vulnerable, and scared. Amber eyes sized her up and down - a smile on those lips. He moved, effortlessly. His coat shuffling softly as he did. He did not come to her, he just merely extended a hand to her. Hers shook so terribly. She wasn't cold, or warm. She just was.
But as her trembling fingers touched his, feeling the skin of his calloused hand and yet the absence of any warmth - or cold - tears began to fill her eyes. Hot and honest tears, tears she never really cried. Their fingers interlocked - was this real? Another dream? A vision meant to torture her? It didn't feel like it. It felt so welcoming and inviting. Safe...
He didn't hesitate, he just pulled her in, with one, strong jolt. His kiss felt like it used to, her knees growing weak. Strong arms wrapping around her still shivering, beaten body. It didn't matter anymore, none of it did, just this, just him. Just this one sole moment, frozen in this little piece of eternity. Violet leaned in, her fists clenching the fabric of his shirt, as if, again, she tried to make sure he was real. Tears streamed down her face, they felt like little wildfires on her cold, soft skin. Soothing light, yellow and pure, began to fill the cracks and craters within her heart. A feeling so familiar and yet so alien. So long had it been. So much had happened since. She belonged. And she allowed the sensation to fill her, till she overflowed with it. Love...
She sobbed against his chest, so much suddenly falling from her. All her burdens, her grief, all the doubts, and guilt. It didn't belong to this place, it belonged to the other side, it belonged to life. Here, finally, she was free. And the more she cried, the tighter he held her. He didn't judge. He wasn't angry. He was just there.
"Took yer long enough, my little Firebird.", he mumbled into her silky, white hair, before planting a gentle kiss on her head. His voice still held the deep tone, a husky, wild rasp. It sent shivers down her spine. How she had longed to hear it so close once more.
"I'm so... so sorry...", she sniveled. Flint's big hand carefully, softly graced by her cheek, lifting her face, so she could look into the depths of his golden, joyful eyes. He smiled... how could he always smile. Like he never had a care in the world.
"There be nothin' to forgive... I'd be takin' that blade a thousand times over jus' to know yer safe...", Flint replied, tilting his head slightly, his smile forming a grin. That devilish, charming grin of his. Gently, carefully, her fingers began to wander, to explore. Feeling his chest rising and falling with every breath he drew. How could this be...? Her fingers traveling through his rough beard, as he closed his eyes, reveling the touch he too had longed for. Violet had no eyes for the glow of the beautiful flowers around them on this field of blue, she did not care for the shooting stars above their heads. All that ethereal beauty was lost to her. All she saw was what matters, what was right in front of her. Him.
"I'm here now..."
Their kiss held an intimacy she had never known before him. As if they merged into the very same being for a last time. He took her to places, unseen, unknown, untouched. Where it was just him and her. His peace and love seeped into every nook and every cranny. The roaring beast within her had burnt out, its last roar was more a wail, mourning everything she had lost on the way, challenging everything that lay ahead, before it lay to slumber. Peaceful. And tired. Finally, she could rest. Finally, the fight was over. Her heart was in pieces... but so were the stars above.

Hope is a fuel eternal...

Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:10 pm

VI: Reconstruction and working through

#40 Post by Violet » Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:44 am

It has been months since she last stepped foot in her house. It has been months since her filigree fingers last brushed over the elaborate carvings of the main door, pushing it open with purpose. And nothing had changed. It still looked exactly the same. The dark wood, the portraits glaring at her and laying bare all her faults and guilt, staring right into the abyss of her very soul. Again the beast swallowed her whole.
"Well... this is depressing...", she mumbled to herself, looking around as she walked through the entrance hall, being greeted by her servants. Everyone seemed to be rather happy to see her back, to see her healthy. She was healthy, she was back, but she was only a fraction of the woman who had left these halls last. But somehow it was good to be back. She absolutely loved Dalaran. It was where she was born, where she grew up, where most of the dearest memories were. But here, in Stormwind, she was truly at home. It didn't smell as pleasant, and the streets were more plentiful and less overfilled, less bustle outside the window... but this was home. And no matter how much she denied it, how much she struggled against it, how much she might even despise it... right here she belonged.
They all ate, servants, house guards and her in the dining room. She never really used that room, and usually, she would dine alone, but it just didn't feel right. They all had done so much for her. They defended this house, they defended her, they kept everything running while she was away. It was the least she could do. Regardless of the events of the past few months, they all were really... happy and frisky. She didn't really talk much, she preferred to listen, to just be part of their joy. Violet found herself finding some small solace in that, she somehow felt it creep into the cracks of her soul. She even laughed herself. Maybe having a glass of wine more than she should have had. What did it matter? She was alive, she at least wanted to feel the part.
Knowledge is a burden, Ironfur had said. And she placed it upon her shoulders. If someone had told her about it, she would have been absolutely certain she would have been crushed under the things she learned. About what truly awaited her. Awaited everyone. Instead... she found comfort in it. Comfort in the burden of certainty. But also in knowing that he would be alright. He was gone, yes, but he was alright. Finally, she found peace with what had happened. It didn't make it easier, that he was gone. But for the very first time, she was able to bear it. She was here, she was alive and she had to live a full life for each of her loved ones who fell, so their passing at least served a purpose, so it wasn't for naught. She truly thought she was ready to die, to end the suffering. But suffering was a very essential part of living. But so was happiness. And both could coexist.
The mage let out a long sigh as her eyes fell on the monstrous pile of parchment on her desk. Existential dread, truly. But there was no avoiding it, so she might as well get a headstart. Her chair was just as comfortable as she remembered, the light of the fire behind her just as warm and comforting. The paperwork ... just as boring. But it was a nice, idle activity. She didn't even notice how quickly the hours passed, or how the sun disappeared behind the ridges.
A soft knock on the double doors finally tore her out of it.
"M'lady, a visitor for you.", Falroc announced, and as she nodded a familiar Sindorei stepped through. Violet got up, a bright and warm smile gracing her lips.
"Leth! Should you be here? Isn't that sort of... breaking the armistice or some rule of decency?", she joked in good spirits. His features were like stone, very serious, angry almost. Did something happen?
"I'm Kirin Tor. And so are you. We are neutral. But if you don't mind me asking what in the nether are you doing here?", he asked, his voice icy.
"Uh... I live here?"
His bright green eyes glared at her for many heartbeats until he let out a truly frustrated sound. "So you're back here?! After everything?"
She didn't quite grasp what in the world he was getting at. "What do you mean? Why wouldn't I be?"
He stepped closer, she never minded, but right now she felt awfully vulnerable and he was awfully intimidating to her. That was new.
"I thought after everything that happened you finally understood...", he shook his head, his fingers running through his blood-red hair. "You finally knew you didn't belong here. You are a Kirin Tor, even now!", he growled lowly.
"Even now? Are we like a subscription service now that you just get kicked out of if you don't pay the monthly courtesy visit?", she snapped back rather sarcastically.
"You don't belong here, Violet. You never did. You never will! What do you want with those people? Where were they when you really needed them? Come back to Dalaran, let us help you.", he pressed further, stepping even closer.
Her jaw almost dropped. What did he think was wrong with her? She was so taken aback, that it took her a short while to answer.
"Alright, firstly this is my home. My house. Secondly, they were exactly where I wanted them: as far away as possible. Safe. And they might hate me for it, but I'd do it a thousand times over. And lastly, I assure you I am fine. I don't need any help from the Kirin Tor.", she spoke, her voice thankfully very firm and resolute.
Leth shook his head, he was clearly getting even angrier now.
"How much does he have to do to you until you finally walk away?! Isn't it enough already?!", his voice was a lot louder now, agitated, raging. The runes in his flesh softly glowing, as they used to under her touch.
"The filthy ragged mutt of a tough you are working for!"
"What? Lord Protector Bannon?", she raised her brows, her voice now almost amused. "What has he to do with any of this?"
"Everything! He gave you that book! Knowing you're a mage. A good and proper mage!", he snarled right back, hatred burning in his eyes.
"Because I asked him for it!", her patience was wearing thin now. "And while we are at it, I was also the one who actively decided to read it.", she added, slowly getting furious herself. "This is on me."
"And where exactly was the rest of this band of sellswords?", he poked further.
"They are no sellswords. And to answer your truly stupid question: where I had pushed them. Far. Away. Is that it then?"
She pushed away from him, she really didn't feel comfortable that close. She felt very frail. Defenseless. But he wouldn't let her go, he stalked after her like a panther, just as her fingers brushed past the letter opener.
You have to start it.
"So he has found no issue with you being useless? Come back to Dalaran, you can still have a purpose!", he pleaded again.
"Useless? Useless?! Well pardon me, that fact is just utterly new to me. And if I am so useless then, what would I do in Dalaran then?"
Leth's hand hit the wood of her desk hard, as if he was angry at a child not understanding the math equation he tried to explain.
"You could still teach!", he spat out.
"Teach? And what exactly would I be teaching? How to lose your mind quickly? Murderous crusades 1o1? How to abuse your magic efficiently?", Violet snorted almost amused, unable to suppress a bitter grin. The Elf still just stared at her, the rage more than evident in his eyes. She could see some of the muscles in his face twitching. She was a mage herself, she was well aware of what he could do to her. And that she had no chance to defend herself. Provoking a tiger was no smart feat.
"You may not have been in the best spot. But at least you were powerful, strong, beautiful.", so that was how he saw it?
She scoffed.
"Powerful, strong, and beautiful? You and we clearly remember the past months very differently.", her voice was calm and collected, a warming swinging in her tone.
"What did he say then?", he demanded to know.
Violet turned her head away, staring into the fire, taking a deep breath, trying to find an answer.
"There it is. You haven't told him, have you? Because you know I am right. The moment they learn about you being nothing anymore they will drop you. You're already an outcast, but what do you think you are once they know you're worthless to them?", that struck a nerve now.
"The opportunity hasn't arisen yet. And I am not nothing, I am not worthless!", now it was her who growled those words. "I made my bed, now I lay in it."
He snorted, but it sounded much more like an angered growl. "Yeah? Really? What could you do against me now Violet? Huh?", again he stepped closer. Like a reflex her fingers found the letter opener, he didn't even notice, he just glared at her face. He scared her. She was frightened because she knew she was weak. Weaker than ever before. "What could you really do? Mh?", he didn't waste any more time, the runes on his body glowed brightly, the spell engulfing his hands as he basically stormed towards her, closing the little distance between them...
Stoping mid-track as he felt the cold metal at his throat. She didn't falter, didn't step back, she stood there. For there was strength to be found in weakness. The necessity to adapt and learn. To grow. He was genuinely taken aback, surprised even.
"You may tear me apart, yes.", she spoke, her tone very serious, her eyes filled with passion and an unbridled, newfound will to be alive. To be in love, with life. "But I'd still cut your throat and that would be it for the both of us. I am more than my magic, and if you haven't quite caught it, I think this is your queue to leave."
She watched him storm out as she sank into her chair. Her body shaking, her hands trembling. Panic rose in her like a storm, threatening to blow her away, tear her apart again. Her breath was hardly under control. So she closed her eyes.
The ocean, her ocean. Mighty waves steadily crashing against the shore. Endless blue, calm water washing over her icy cold. The tides ever-rising, ever falling, again and again, steadily, just like her breath. Up and down. Gentle breezes and mighty winds filling sails, stretching the canvas. Salt in the air, smooth, polished wood. Sturdy anchor plowing over the seabed, slowing everything, making it come to a halt.
As Violet opened her eyes again her breath was calm, her hands steady and her mind collected.
It was already dawn when she finally made it out of that room, yawning, exhausted. She was yearning for her soft bed. The freshly made, fluffy pillows. But as soon as she stepped out, into the entrance halls she was faced with the glares of the portraits again, them deeming her unworthy still, the hollow emptiness of the house... crushing her.

Once the sun had risen, Falroc was quite puzzled by the bustle in the entrance hall. The many strangers, the people taking off the portraits from the walls, measuring this and that. What was going on? Where was Violet? Through all the people he finally made out a maid.
"Where is the mistress? What is going on? Why didn't the guards to anything?", he growled in his usual, rough military manner. But she just shrugged and pointed over yonder.
"... do with the portraits M'lady?", he heard one of the strangers ask - she was here so... she knew about this? He stood there for a few moments, just observing, his confusion ever-growing.
"Oh... well just send it to my brother-in-law - he might find them to his liking.", she replied with a shrug, rocking the black cat with its pointed hat on her shoulder softly. She smiled. She hasn't done that in a while. She looked around, perfectly content. And as she laid eyes on him that smile of hers grew even larger.
"Good morning Knight Captain.", she greeted him with a giggle. "What do you think?"
"I'm... not sure? What is this?"
She pursed her lips, looking around, shrugging again. "It's... a little bit of everything I guess. I felt it was time for a change.", she spoke with such purpose. "Oh by the way there are fresh waffles in the kitchen. Mildred made them and they are ... heavenly. You should try some.", she added cheerful with a wink, before she turned to the carpenter, a slight spring in her step.
The worgen cocked his head and just stared at her for a moment. A grin spread over his chaps, baring his fangs. She was back.

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