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Archive for November, 2010

((Warning! This post is made of sad, and is ONLY Paladerp’s point of view; the White Sigil is an amazing RP guild and her being kicked was completely IC- NO hard feelings from an OOC standpoint, I still consider -myself- a Sigil member, even if my character is not. Marius deserves lots of love.))

28 November, 2010

I’m not in the Sigil anymore.

It feels strange to write those words. It feels unreal, but the passing of time- a day, two days- hasn’t diminished that truth, hasn’t turned it to a nightmare… or at least, not one I may waken from.

I look down at my signet ring, and it is dull, lifeless. Reckless endangerment, he said. No longer a part of the White Sigil, he said. I know your heart is in the right place. I know your passion, and if it were only once in a while…

But it’s consistent.

No longer a part of the White Sigil.

(more…)

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It felt good. Clean, honest work to throw one’s weight into; it had been hours since the last attack, after all. A small smile curved the woman’s lips as she heaved her weight into the axe, reveling in the jarring impact radiating up her arms. Sweat pricked at the cut on her brow, and that felt good, too. Her body hurt, but it was a good pain- they’d done well.

If she’d been told two months ago that she’d be teaching a swarm of children how to wield basic instruments to defend their home against elementals, she would have laughed outright. It was a ridiculous notion, yet- what choice did they have?

You use what tools you’ve got. Even if that means showing wide-eyed innocents how to make makeshift slings, how to swipe for the enemy’s weak spots- what was it Strahm had said? His voice was light and singsongy, nearly lost in the screeching whirlwind of the elemental they’d been fighting.

Go for the bracers, dear! It’s like hitting them in the testicles!”

So she taught them. What choice was left?

She staggered, teetering unsteadily on her feet. Her body felt a patchwork of aches and bruises, and her recently mended leg was none too stable. Her vision blurred slightly. Her heart pounded inside of her chest at an uneven gallop; her throat burned.

Just a hill away…

The rockslide had trapped her, uprooting trees, upheaving stone. But she was no ordinary woman, and as the sky went dark and the world ripped apart- she had but one thing to turn to. The hideous destruction all around her was nothing. The Light had been there, was everything- even as everything crumbled and fell. In the darkness, her body bent and her heart beat steadily. She’d lived…

Getting out had been another matter altogether.

For children, they’d fought hard. Matron Larksong had proved to be more than Dyna could have expected of such a woman. The lines of her warm features had turned hard, and, with all the ferocity of a tiger protecting her cubs, she’d pulled a startlingly well maintained bow and quiver full of arrows from some secret place, unleashing hell upon the elemental invaders.

She tried not to worry about those left in Stormwind, tried not to fret over Mayru’s coma; tried not to think about Strahm, scouting out and placing himself in harm’s way, tried not think of the ways in which she might be failing her comrades by being elsewhere. They were strong. And she was needed, here.

Besides- they were winning. Of all the things- they were actually succeeding in driving them back, in keeping the Orphanage safe! She hadn’t expected that; she’d hoped to convince them all to evacuate, perhaps to the ruins of the Outlands- at least there, the earthquakes weren’t so bad. She’d heard of no problems in Shattrath. It would be safer, there.

But Larksong was stubborn. This was their home. This was all they had. And the elementals here were nothing like the ones that rampaged Stormwind…

Her head throbbed, and she felt nauseous. But she had to keep walking. One foot, then the next.

“Come on… stupid…”

Her voice was barely recognizable, a thin croak. She tried to blink the dimness from the edges of her vision. Had it only been a day ago? Two days, at most…?

Time was a haze, and thinking hurt. Speaking hurt. Moving hurt. She was dry as an old corn husk, and her bones were so much chalk inside her skin. Not for the first time, she cursed herself roundly for the loss of her signet ring, and looked back down at her feet. They seemed so far away…

Light, but she was a mess.

“Tenacity…”

Again, the hoarse whisper. Her throat grated and burned; all the dust from the landslide, the smoke and ash. But it gave her heart.

She just had to get over the ridge, and she’d be-

Not home. But something like it. Something close enough.

She’ll be alright, Matron. We’ve done all we can.”

Her voice was heavy with exhaustion, and arms prickled uncomfortably. Lightning forked over the surface of her skin; leastwise, that’s how it felt, though the elementals had been driven back again. Tell-tale redness marked her forearms, and her palms were a lacework of gentle, searing agony from their efforts, but she’d done it.

For a brief moment, the woman allowed herself to feel elation. Kerryn’s heart had stopped. She had brought the child back, though- had summoned the Light to mend the child’s broken body, had dragged her wandering spirit back, despite all odds and past failure.

That didn’t make the other five any easier to look to. She couldn’t think about those lost, right now.

Thirty children. Now twenty five.

Her jaw set. She couldn’t think about those who were lost. There was nothing she could do; she’d tried two others, but the small bodies were beyond her skill to mend. The living had priority, now; broken arms splinted, burns treated- she shouldn’t have been so damned good with burns. There were seven wounded.

But they’d done it. They’d beaten the last incursion back, even at so high a cost. She couldn’t think about their losses, right now.

The orphan matron hovered over the resurrected child, brushing back a strand of dark hair from the girl’s face. Kerryn had been one of the older girls- she couldn’t have been a day under eleven, but she’d shown remarkable aptitude with a spear. Dyna had watched her, had seen a fighter’s courage in the child’s eye, despite the chaos around them.

That her spirit would live on was a good thing. But the others…

Her stomach twisted, and abruptly, she lurched away, struggling to swallow back bile.

She’d tried too hard. She’d overdone it.

The contents of her stomach emptied themselves out, and she sagged to her knees, the world beginning to spin.

They’d done it, though. They’d beaten them back.

Her gaze jerked up from the ground, which seemed all too appealing. She had to keep moving. It wasn’t far, now, just past that copse of trees…

The bitter of taste of scorched stone tingled at the back of her throat, and she squinted. Everything was hazy. The trees appeared as skeletons of what they had been, before. Light, she was tired, hungry- sick with thirst. Thank all that was holy she’d not run into more elementals. She doubted her ability to fight them back, now.

Upward, she struggled. One foot in front of the other. Had to think of something- something good, something whole. Compassion. Tenacity. Respect. She’d sworn by the virtues every day, every night, for so many years. They’d see her through this. After all, she’d made it this far, hadn’t she…?

Her leg buckled, and she found herself on her knees, head spinning. So much smoke…

She had to keep going. Just past the burned trees, there it would be. She was so close…

She’d been scouting. There had been no more incursions, and the temporary peace left her feeling uneasy. The dead had been buried in shallow graves- there hadn’t been time for a proper burial. How much longer were they expected to last? Everyone was ready. Meals had been silent but for few terse words exchanged about battle plans. She hoped never again to discuss such things with a seven year old; it turned her stomach. But many things did that, in these times.

It had caught her off guard, as she’d dismounted to try to climb a tree. Never the most skilled climber, the sudden violent pitch and jerk of the very earth sustaining its roots had thrown her as surely as an acolyte’s first time on warhorse with a thorn under its saddle; she’d been tossed aside in her riding leathers like a child’s toy, and it was only a matter of luck that she hadn’t landed headfirst into a rock. A thorny bush had cushioned her fall, something she’d never expected to feel grateful for. She’d lost her ring then, she figured- one of them, anyway.

She’d had only a moment to try to regain her senses before a pillar of rock had abruptly dislodged over her, uprooting trees- she’d caught a glimpse of the darkening skies, a hint of something molten before nearly having her life snuffed out by the landslide.

It was only the Light that had saved her. Throwing her hands out, she’d clenched her teeth and exhaled a wordless shout before her shimmering aegis had surrounded her, keeping a pocket full of air for her to breath- and forcing the rocks to land in such a fashion as they hadn’t immediately crushed her.

It wasn’t the first time that trick had saved her life. It wouldn’t be the last, either.

She held it for as long as she could, before the darkness crashed over her. She’d been working too much with the Light; she was no master of the Holy, just an apprentice. Everything was falling apart. She had nothing to sustain it, and unconsciousness tugged her deep into the black.

She crawled, now. Stillness wasn’t an option. Not here, so close to the orphanage. The soil beneath her palms and clenching fingertips was gritty with soot, strangely black and ashen. She was so close. If only she lifted her head, she could see it.

Dimly, she did so- her eyes were so dry, her head spun and her vision blurred sickeningly. Where was it…?

She scanned the horizon again. Nothing. Just burned, blackened… a dip… a crevice…

Where was it?

Her heart began to pound a little more quickly. She struggled, reaching for a tree- pulling herself up by one of the mangled branches. A little strength returned to her, and, moving quickly, now, she turned to look around. Had she gone the wrong way-?

No. There was the smoldering remnant of a little fence-

There was the brittle skeleton of an apple tree in the orchard-

– the five small dirt mounds of the shallow graves…

No.

Where was the orphanage…?

Staggering, she lurched toward it had been. She was so tired. Everything -hurt-.

She didn’t know how long she’d been asleep- unconscious? It might have been a day. It might have been several. All she knew was that it was dark out, that it was dirty and difficult to breathe. She was trapped here.

She was going to die here.

Trying not to breath any harder than she had to, she’d turned her head, shifted her body… the aegis had created a pocket large enough to move in, if not walk. Her -bones- felt sore. She was thirsty. Her body seemed only a casing for a multitude of pains and complaints.

It was then she’d noticed her missing signet ring- and cursed the loss of her saddlebags, where she’d careless stowed the rest of her things, including her hearthstone. Only an hour or two of scouting, she’d told herself- then she’d be back.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Still silently cursing, she cast about- and a small rock shifted, revealing daylight. There was fresh air. There was sun out there, somewhere.

She didn’t know how long it would take her to break free of the landslide, but she knew then and there that she was going to live.

She stared down into the crevice. The ground was cauterized, but it seemed no less a gaping wound.

This was where it was supposed to be.

This was where the orphanage was supposed to be. It wasn’t, though.

The children.

Everything was gone. Where were they?

Where had they gone?

Somewhere, deep inside her battered body- past her certainty that she was too tired to feel anything but exhaustion- she heard, rather than felt, something snapping.

She’d known the moment she’d seen the smoke on the horizon.

Her knees buckled for a second time, and she stared, utterly numb.

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