Featuring Meridith

The strange blue man - this eredar, this draenei - was clearly in pain, and Apothecary Azethen was clearly amused. Meridith watched with a sort of detatched scientific curiosity as the concoction Azethen gave him took effect, causing the strange beautiful creature's face to distort in agony. He cried out in his alien language, a strange, deep, musical sound, then collapsed onto the floor, unconscious. The black-robed Apothecary cackled. The young undead woman frowned to herself as she knelt beside the draenei, checking his vital signs. "He's still alive," she said softly, as much to herself as to the other undead. She glanced over at him, her glowing yellow eyes peering out from under the wide brim of her red hat as he examined the subject with relish. She flinched inwardly as a thought flitted across her consciousness: I haven't the stomach for this anymore.

Meridith stood slowly, careful not to let the skirt of her long red robes tangle around her legs. "Good luck with your studies," she said with a forced cordiality, curtseying to Azethen. For his part he was too distracted with his work for more than a cursory nod. She pushed aside the embroidered velvet doorflap of the elaborately-decorated tent and stepped out into the harsh red of the Hellfire Peninsula landscape. Falcon Ridge was little more than an outpost, but the Blood Elves had spared no expense to make it liveable. More than liveable, really, by Horde standards, she thought in spite of herself, letting the faintest trace of a smirk cross her grey lips as she turned from the barren landscape to the elegant white spire that rose from the top of the hill. She strode up the steep path toward the spire, the ground-trailing hem of her skirt kicking up a fresh cloud of red dust from the packed earth. At the top of the hill the strangely beautiful alien sky opened up around her, and she stopped for a moment to appreciate the bands of pulverized rock and unfamiliar moons and floating landmasses that made up the view of the Great Dark here. It had been horrbly jarring at first, nearly sickening to see the sky so very busy in the middle of the daytime, but after a couple weeks Meridith had grown accustomed to it. After a quick glance around to get her bearings she started toward the wyvern master, intending to head for Shattrath City to take care of some business with the Scryers. But as she approached the slight, pretty Blood Elf in leather armor who tended the wyverns the laughter of the Apothecary in the tent below drifted up to her, making her cringe.

And Meridith stopped in her tracks.

It had all been different when she had awakened, nearly a year ago now, to find herself and the rest of Lordaeron abandoned by humanity - at least, humanity as represented by the kingdom of Stormwind - and seeking shelter among their former enemies while trying desperately to secure a way to defend themselves. It had seemed so vitally important then, having to fend off Stormwind on one front, thinking them no better than mindless zombies, and fighting the actual mindless zombies of the Scourge from whose ranks they had only been released by the magic of the Dark Lady Sylvanas. Her sense of betrayal had run so deep that she poured herself into the Royal Apothecary Society, helping them to apply the finer points of alchemy to the ultimate defense of her people, even at the expense of everyone who had escaped the Plague that destroyed Lordaeron. But then...she had gotten to know the living again. She had made friends outside her own people, primarily among the Horde but even among the Alliance, friends who might be hurt by what they wanted to devise. Her people were scared and distrustful of a world that had abandoned them to the Scourge, but she slowly learned to trust. And as her enthusiasm waned, so did her effectiveness with the R.A.S. What good was an assistant to them if she had too much sympathy for the test subjects to do her job? As she became strong enough to help the Argent Dawn in what had become known as the Plaguelands she was inspired to help those members of the Society focusing on weapons against the Scourge, and even devised some experiments of her own. She came to find the attitudes of some of her fellows disturbing, but she still kept to her work for the good of all the "survivors" of Lordaeron.

Outland made it all feel so pointless. Darrowshire had been her home, but it was nothing more than ruins now, and she had never been happy there anyway. What was the point of trying to reclaim it when the very land was tainted? Quel'thalas had suffered the exact same fate, and while the Blood Elves were certainly insular, they had reached out to her own people for help, giving them a whole nation of powerful allies. The Blood Elves sought to claim part of Outland for themselves, why couldn't the Forsaken join them? There was no need for a new Plague anymore, no need to torture others in the name of self-defense. Corentin was right, they were being corrupted by all this violence. There was no need for what was going on in the tent below, even if the strange beautiful aliens were their enemies. They had weapons and allies enough without that, and now the reopening of the Dark Portal made all the old conflicts seem inconsequential. What was the Scourge, after all, but a creation of the Burning Legion they faced out here? And what good was a Plague against demons?

Closing her eyes, the girl let loose a massive, shoulder-heaving sigh. She reached into the satchel she always carried at her side and dug a small runestone from a pocket stitched into the lining. Enclosing the smooth stone in her palm, feeding on the power it generated, she concentrated and ran her mind through the incantation to teleport her back to the Undercity. This had been some time in coming, but she knew she had to go through with it. She couldn't pretend to be innocent anymore. It was time to tender her resignation.

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