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Author: Aerdrienya
Story Index: Index


What had happened?

Their toothy smiles, their odd behavior, their playful exchanges.


t h e i r... m o c k i n g...


Their MOCKING.

THEIR MOCKING!!


Yes, you saw it. They MOCKED YOU!

Treated you like you were nothing!

Trying to over-power, like you were a flea among giants!

You're just a healer Aerdri! You're weak and helpless Aerdri! Your smiles and talents mean NOTHING to them!


No! Not her! She wouldn't... she said... she said she'd be there... protect me and she would care...

No she didn't... you told her that... remember? She never knew what she was talking about, she's not right in the mind you know.

And I am?

You are fine, and you know that.

Her road forked on you some time ago and you went onwards... besides... you know she doesn't need you anymore... because she has HER now. She only clung to you because she is young and without family... and when you didn't give her what she needed... the moment you hesitated she took flight.

Yes, I hesitated. I should never have done that.


You didn't REALLY hesitate... you considered and you did what was right for you... for your survival. For OUR survival.


A spray of blood.

It tastes good... it FEELS good!

Something is wrong.... something is completely, vastly, totally, WRONG!

Nothing is wrong. This is all the right you need.

Is this all there is. Is this what is meant to be? What am I supposed to do?

You're supposed to follow your path, the one you've ignored for so long, and I am here to help you. And I promise you Aerdri, I will never leave you. Never again, I promise you that.


I have heard promises before. I have thought and believed things to be right and true before. But that's all they were. Figments... figments in of my imagination. Damned shadows in this dying world full of deceit and decay. Dreams, hopes, love.... they're all just shadows. No not even that... because shadows are real.


* * *


The large deep indigo cat paused.


Looking up she sniffed the air around her. The blood that covered her maw dripped from a few strands of silvery hair. Small droplets plummeted earthward where they struck the tangled mess of a corpse near her paws. The sounds each made seemed to reverberate in her mind like the constant hammering of Ironforge, the constant picking deep in the Blackrock.


Trying to ignore the distraction she turned her heavy head and sniffed at the air again. Just beyond a small cluster of trees stood Feathermoon Stronghold, it was more than familiar ground to her. But the air, this time something in the air didn't feel... right. Forgetting her slaughter she crept in silence toward the treeline, visions sweeping through her thoughts that something terrible had come to invade her new home. If that were so, that something would die, if it could not die she would make sure that it would suffer.


Yellow eyes viewed everything through a faint haze of green. From time to time other colors made a brief appearance but this shade was the most prevalent and it seemed to be almost always present now.


Settling down into the shadowy underbrush her golden globes flickered over the half-town half-military outpost. People, mostly kaldorei, seemed to go about their regular daily business seemingly oblivious to whatever horrible thing it was that she was sensing. The Sentinels patrolled the roads in regular fashion, only halting their trance-like march to salute a priestess or a superior officer. A few men gathered near the inn, well used fisher gear in tow. They took this time to talk and joke before heading down to the beachfront. The local flightmaster appeared to be talking to both himself and the twilight colored hippogryphs who waited patiently in their makeshift nests for the next weary traveler.


To the naked eye one would assume everything to be completely fine. Just another normal day. But the cat saw things in a slightly different way, not because of her feline eyes but because of her kaldorei eyes. Even still, she knew that her eyes were now quite unlike even her kind. Sniffing at the air once more she picked up a trace of something very familiar. Someone.


Her eyes flickered back and forth now seeking the source. A seething pain that she had gotten used to suddenly shot up her right foreleg and her emerald covered world suddenly began to shift. She saw a faint trail of slightly darker green that seem to hang in the air like a ghostly smoke. It made a trail into the inn and down along the dock. The green stopped almost at the height of a night elf. Where it did fade, deep sickly interwoven hues of violet and orange came into focus. As they rose into the air they appeared to suddenly veer off in the direction of the mainland. That was in the east however, and the cat clearly recalled that the wind had been blowing to the south for the entire day.


Wanting to follow in the direction or the colors she began to move towards the inn. As she made her way, eyes tightly focused on the destination, she began to grow in height. Where once there was an feral indigo cat now strode a thin, pale, emerald haired night elf.


* * *


Jland took the freshness of the air deep into his lungs. Saturated with the ever familiar dew that seemed to be hang along the shore of Feathermoon Stronghold almost every day. Yes, it was always the same, but he loved each and every day in this place, so much like Auberdine.


Tying his long dark hair back with a piece of twine he bent over to gather his small bag. After double checking to make sure he had everything he swung the satchel over his shoulder in one fluid motion and tightened the strap. His long dagger hugged at his thin thigh in it's custom made break-away sheath. It would allow him to draw it very quickly outwards rather. Being far less clumsy this way it had saved his live on more than a few occasions.


Peering into his crescent shaped mirror he ran one hand over his head, patting down any stray hairs. Smiling wide, he checked his teeth and wiped them once with a small cloth.


Putting on his "serious" face he grinned slyly at himself and added, "Jland, you are one handsome devil... and ALL the ladies know it." He laughed at the last part before stepping out onto the simple cobbled walkway.


After a brief couple of stops to flirt with a few of the local ladies, Jland finally reached the opening that led down to where the ship brought passengers to the mainland. His soft soled boots made hardly a sound as he made his way down to the dockhead. He hoped he wouldn't have to wait long for the ferry.


Just ahead Jland saw another kaldorei seated on the end of the dock with her back to him. Her short emerald hair and violet silk cape tossing in the ocean breeze. She wore armor, mostly green and other earthy tones. A pair of well worn gloves and a long stave rested just off to her side. Her shoulders were hidden beneath a set of heavy leather spaulders but he could easily picture her without them. The ship wasn't here yet and Jland could hardly pass up a chance to introduce himself to another lady.


Quietly clearing his throat Jland threw himself back into "gentleman made".


"If I were to have ever see Ashara herself I should think that not even her beauty could compare." A bit wishy-washy and somewhat over done but Jland knew through experience that words like these, for whatever reason, still worked on many women. Focusing on the horizon he would then pretend that it was actually the view that he spoke of.


He waited a few moments for her to turn but she didn't.


Hmmmm, he smirked, this one wants to play the game too. Moving forward a bit, intending to sit on the dock next to her he abruptly came to a halt.


Now he could hear her. She was whispering very quietly and from what he could tell she seemed to be in the middle of a conversation... with no one.


"Excuse me miss.", he narrowed his eyes slightly but still tried to maintain his charm, "I was just wondering, are you waiting for the ship as well? I have urgent matters to attend to and fear my tardiness might have cost me."


She continued to speak to herself, her voice had a hint of anger in it and perhaps a bit of sorrow as well.


Not knowing what to do her reached for her hoping to draw her out of the trance she seemed to be caught up in. Just as his fingers neared her shoulder she suddenly went silent and completely still.


"Miss?"


This time she heard him and when she turned he was forced to step back a bit, his hand moving for his dagger instinctively. Her face was full of tears and left trails though grime and what seemed to be blood. Her eyes seemed to eat a hole through him. Glowing a fierce eerie green, tiny wafting tendrils of mist the same color poured from each side before fading away.


As shocking as this was for him to see it paled in comparison to what he saw next. The sleeve of her right arm had been drawn up past her elbow and rested underside up on her lap. The other hand was frozen, in mid-stroke, as it apparently had been busy raking a series of bloody markings through her soft flesh.


Hand still on his dagger, he shouted back toward the inn for help, for a healer or at least some bandages. No sooner had the words escaped his lips there was sudden splash from the water below. Turning back to the woman he found that she had gathered her things up and dove in. She was now hastily making her way to the far shore, but not directly inland to the other dock. Instead she headed up the coast... in the direction of Desolace.

Previous: VII. Desperation Sparks Memory and Action
Next: IX. Conflict

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