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Archive for March, 2012

The following is penned in remarkably precise, if grumpy, penmanship. Two copies, one delivered to the mailbox of Shalaara, the other to Tia Lansing.

Late evening into early morning, the sixteenth day of the third month; three quarters moon.

Led by Hector Grimbane, participants Ashtivr Whiteoak, Khadros, Juhla, Jolane Silveroak, Quinny ‘Chuckles’ Avenyse, and Markin Quickfix.

Injuries sustained-Markin Quickfix took damage to his left leg in the initial investigation, Juhla was sat on; the secondary investigation led to an explosion which destroyed a building in Caer Darrow, the results of which were severe damage to Hector Grimbane and an inconvenient shoulder wound to Ashtivar Whiteoak. Full recovery of all parties is anticipated.

As witnessed by Ashtivar Whiteoak:

Contacted by Tia Lansing to join a group of Legion members in dealing with one of the handful of issues that has taken second seat to other matters. She gathered us before the Flightmaster and miss Juhla was asked to select a task for us. She chose to pay tribute to Uther’s tomb, a task which Miss Lansing was unable to illuminate the meaning of for us. We left en masse and made our way North, where we spoke to a Kaldorei priest, groundskeeper. We offered our aid and he told us they had been experiencing a problem with restless spirits, and asked if we could help.

We made our way to the indicated position and encountered non-hostile, non-responsive spirits hovering the grave site. One in particular was standing by a grave, so we approached. Several attempts were made to garner its attention, but it wasn’t until miss Jolane spoke that it responded, warning us to leave now and pushing us back. I attempted to plant a flower, but it spat the seed back. Markin jumped forward and began to dig.

The spirit possessed me and I tried to eat him; it was at this point that he sustained damage to his leg. He uncovered something in his efforts, and the spirit left me and possessed Juhla. Chuckles quickly tackled her to the ground and kept her pinned, unable to act against us. Someone made Light explode the thing that Markin had uncovered, and the spirits abruptly stopped and went away.

We reported back to the Kaldorei, and told him what we’d found. He asked that we investigate Caer Darrow, where the man buried with the newly destroyed artifact had been found.

Several of our number had to split off at that point, leaving us with Jolane, Hector, myself, and Khadros. Khadros took off ahead and there was a terrible explosion. A body went flying and a mysterious orb appeared. Hector pocketed it and we went to investigate; it appeared to be a cultist, in similar rainments to the ones we’ve faced before, shot in the head. I retrieved Khadros’ gun and we went to continue on, when something alerted us to a presence on the ramparts. We set Jolane to keep watch and investigated.

Hector and I found a man and gave chase, eventually cornering him in a basement. I pinned him as a bear and Hector cut off his arm, then he exploded.

I went to check on Jolane and a minute later, Khadros and Hector were running out shouting for us to move, so we moved. We were mostly out of Caer Darrow when the explosion happened. Hector tossed Jolane out of the way of a rock and nearly got smooshed, I took a shard of stone to the shoulder, and Khadros didn’t get hit at all.

Apparently, there were a great number of those orbs beneath the grate in the basement where the cultist exploded, and they somehow became activated, destroying the building. We can surmise that these orbs were intended for destructive use, and posit that perhaps our somewhat fumbled actions in the area might be a setback for cultist activity.

We reported back to the groundskeeper and went our separate ways

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She strode with an easy swagger, thumbs looped casually in her belt and lips pulled back in a wide smirking grin, as was her usual habit. Eyes half lidded, she scanned the crowd through the busy Trade district, a bushy eyebrows raising as her gaze lingered on one of the bright yellow flying serpents that had recently made an appearance- and didn’t have the decency to disappear again.

It was a fine sort of day, the kind that led to making new friends- a pasttime Ash never gave up on, as her friends had a tendancy to run off to go get themselves killed. She wasn’t sure what it was about her that made folk want to take off and do stupid dangerous shit, but she didn’t like it. The odds were in her favor that eventuallyshe would come across someone who wasn’t looking to die, right?

Still, though the sun was shining and birds were singing and ol’ Hobs was begging for coin, everyone seemed in a rush. A pity, really- she had a week’s worth of pay burning a hole in her pocket, and she didn’t feel like being responsible with it.

With a tuneless song humming in her throat, she dodged a waddling drake and skittered past a mechanized Chopper, pausing only to eye it longingly before continuing onward with a rueful wrinkle of her nose-I ain’thatgood wi’ coin. How th’fock’d Indi get’n?

However, all thoughts of envy abruptly vanished from her mind’s eye as she stop dead in her tracks and gawked.

The action nearly got her trampled by an elekk rampaging out of control of the young draenei atop it, but she barely noticed as it barrelled past straight into a fruit cart. Not even the furious (and inventive) swearing of the vendor caught her attention; she was fixated.

In the window of a nearby shop, the vaguely person-shaped figure was adorned in dark leathers, black and red, engraved all over with intricate whorls and designs. Ash tentatively stepped forward, scarcely breathing as a thrill of excitement surged up her spine, calloused fingertips reaching to brush the glass between herself and the armor in an almost loving sort of way.

“Tha’s et… Tha’s th’ One…” She whispered, lost in her own thoughts as the stuttering young draenei was punched out by the furious fruit vendor and his elekk reared and trumpeted.

Moments later, she had stepped into the shop and deposited her hefty sack of gold on the counter, staring the shop owner down with stern yellow eyes as she pointed wordlessly at the magnificent outfit.

The strangely effeminate dwarf man looked between the sack and Ashtivar, raising a plucked eyebrow at her. “… it won’t fit you. You’re too fat.” His lips pursed, words flat.

Ashtivar’s features contorted around a growl. “Et -has- tae!” She insisted, still a bit breathless and giddy. “S’-mean’- fer me, ye nae kin feel m’future tharr?! I’m feelin’ et an’ yer dumb assa rock if ye ain’ feel et tae!”

The dwarf stared her down- a remarkable feat for someone two thirds her height. “Look in the mirror, then look at my magnificent suit. It was made for someone with aslenderphysique, small boned- delicate, like a bird. Now look back in the mirror. You don’t look like a bird to me.”

Ashtivar squinted her eyes at the man, then screwed her features and abruptly-

There was a god damn bird standing in his shop, staring him down. She squawked, and the dwarf looked extremely unimpressed, folding his arms across his slender chest and staring down his nose at her. After a moment, nose wrinkling as though the contents might have come from a horse’s hind end, he turned to pull the strings of the satchel she’d placed on the counter, eying the coin inside with one eyebrow raising.

Ashtivar fluffed her feathers importantly and canted her head.

The dwarf rolled his eyes. “This would be enough for the outfit, sure, but I’m not selling it to you to have someone -butcher- my masterpiece. The answer is no. You’retoo big.”

She growled briefly in frustration, having already bent her form to that of a woman again, and folded her arms.

“I’ll double et, y’-make- et fit.”

This paused the dwarf, and he pursed her lips, eyes narrowed, arms still folded.  The two regarded each other in silence, before he rolled his eyes and exhaled a long-suffering sigh.

“-Fine-. I’ll -make- it fit, for twice the fee. An artist like myself can work with-” Here he eyed her, wincing as he took in the antlers dangling from her head, the tangled hair, the scuffed, torn, and oft-stained leathers-

“A broken canvas. Hell, if I can make you look good, I can make anything look good. Now quit glaring at me and hold still. I’ve got to take your measurements.”

Two hours later, Ash gasped and staggered into the sunlight of the trade district, brushing herself off from the indignities she’d just been subjected to.

“S’worth et tho’.” She grumbled to herself, scowling down at the cobbles and scuffing a boot over them.

Her scowl didn’t last long.

Soon. Soon she was going to have a new set of leathers.

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Wolf dreams (NSFW)

Ash dreams and uses inappropriate language, then there’s graphic grossness. Not safe for work because she’s vulgar and this got disturbing real quick; you wouldn’t want your boss reading this.

(more…)

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((From Kinza’s perspective here ))

Date: Ninth day of the third month

Involved Parties: Argentum Legion, Silver Bastion, Embersea Accord

Incident, as reported by Odynae ‘Dyna’ Dawnhammer: I was leaving the Cathedral when I happened to check the mail. It was there I found a note from one Ashthra Anderson, a previous associate of mine presumed dead approximately a year ago. The letter was brief and said only that Diane Marviere, a close friend of mine, was in trouble and that I needed to find her.

Due to the dubious nature of the alarm, I went cautious and took Newt out for a few circles over the city before expanding my search to include outlying regions. I did not expect to find anything and thus did not call for aid, as it seemed something more akin to a joke in poor taste than anything else.

This conclusion was incorrect. I caught sight of a Forsaken brutallizing miss Marviere on an outcropping in a small lake just north of the city. Even as I lowered Newt, the undead was pulling out her innards. I flung myself from Newt’s back to put a stop to it immediately, and pinned a spear through his ribs. In return, he shot me in the face. He gave me slight warning in the drawing of the pistol and I was able to subvert some of the damage, but my aegis was only half formed, and the bullet still tore part of my cheek off and severed the tendons of my jaw, rendering me unable to speak properly. At some point, in a fit of desperation, he threw miss Marviere’s plucked out eyeball at me, which exploded into acid.

I used the Light and my weapon to subdue him, and ended him with a boot to the head.

Shortly after, Anderson appeared, having also been at the task of tracking miss Marviere. His status as ‘dead’ was somewhat exagerrated. He utilized a surgeon’s abilities to stabilize miss Marviere, as well as a substantial number of health potions applied systematically via needle to keep her from expiring on the spot.

The damage was severe. Miss Marviere was robbed of an eye, had some of her organs pulled out, much of her skin appeared to have been cunningly peeled off, and her hands were nailed through to the ground. In addition, her left knee was left with a knife plunged between the kneecap and bone.

I called Fugue to aid through the telepathic use of a rune stone, but was unable to report to the Bastion who were inquiring as to my whereabouts until I was able to convey to him to inform them that we were heading to the barracks with an injurred party. I apologize for any undue concern my jawless babblings may have caused.

I was injurred only in the damage of my jaw and the acid to my face, and was nominally functional. Fugue helped me to transport miss Marviere to the Bastion’s headquarters, where miss Kinza brought her from ‘barely alive’ to ‘stable’. Mahlar Dewfall and miss Anna, a friend of his, helped to replace miss Marviere’s eye with one that Ashthra Anderson provided from his own self. The surgery seems to have been a success. Fugue sent another member of the Argentum Legion to help us mend, and miss Neraa was able to salvage my jaw, which now functions perfectly well, though leaves something to be desired when seen. Kannifler helped to bandage my jaw in place until there was time to see to it.

Miss Marviere remains stable and is currently housed in the barracks, where I was keeping a close eye on her. However, urgent duty calls me elsewhere, and I am entrusting her watch to the 47th. She has been directed to remain off her legs and still for a bit while the mending sets.

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The following is penned in remarkably precise penmanship. Two copies, one delivered to the mailbox of Shalaara, the other to Tia Lansing.

Evening, the second day of the third month; new moon.

Led by Ashtivar Whiteoak, participants Eidrin Asher, Laeali, Nate Natsby, Quinny ‘Chuckles’ Avenyse, Markin Quickfix; also involved Wallace Wallcroft and Talonn ‘Fugue’, though both were unable to aid in the completion of the mission.

Injuries sustained- Asher came out the worst for it, battlemending was unable to prevent noticeable damage to his leg. Natsby was banged up but came out alright thanks to Laealii’s quick mending. Laeali and Whiteoak both ended up burnt, though not severely, and Quickfix was badly bruised but otherwise unharmed. Chuckles may have sustained a head injury as she passed out mid-fight and was relocated to Booty Bay after the conflict was over.

No permanent damages seem to have occurred.

We began in Booty Bay, where Markin quickly found the informant with the intel. The informant tried to run before Eidrin tackled him to the ground and held him still. Wallace provided menacing threats and Eidrin shook him violently while Markin extracted the information by appearing as the good fellow.

Markin bribed the informant with a sack of coin and attempted to bribe him further as a gesture of good will, however, Eidrin probably ruined that by tossing him in the Bay after we had gained the intelligence we needed.

The informant gave us the location of the target, stating it was worth more than his life to do so. When asked if the target had allies with him, we were told that he did and that it was a poor idea to pursue goal. The informant seemed unable to give us further detail, stating that he didn’t know anything else.

We made our way towards the Gurubashi arena when it was brought to my attention that the primary path may have been observed. Markin offered to lead us through tunnels to get there unseen, but I disagreed with that. Markin scouted ahead to examine alternate routes while I circled above to ensure he wasn’t captured in a trap. The way seemed clear.

However, as we passed through the new alternate route, the enemy attempted to dart us from the cover of the trees. I tried to shake them out as a bear, but only succeeded in falling. Laeali, however, wielded her druidic manipulations in such a way as to knock them all down, where our melee made short work of them.

One was left alive but died shortly after, presumably by poison capsule.

We continued on to find Hammertoe. He had five cultists backing him and tried to lure each party member away from the Argentum Legion, though he didn’t seem surprised to find his offers refused. Afterwards, he instructed his minions to destroy us.

A pitched battle ensued, the duration of which saw most of the above the listed injuries occur. Laeali in particular stood out for her cunning use of vines and her command of flesh-eating insects, distinguishing herself. Markin’s shadow-striding was also a valuable asset, and Natsby’s courage was to be commended when standing in the face of dire opposition. Eidrin displayed great tenacity and strength of will in his ability to break free of powerful shadow magic that seemed to drive him against us.

Chuckles passed out.

The battle ended with Laealii and I on fire. I rolled to put myself out, but Laeali made strange noises and bolted for the water’s edge. It was there she encountered Hammertoe, who had previously vanished; Hammertoe attempted to subdue her, to what end I am not certain, but instead she made more loud, weird noises, alerting us of her predicament.

Eidrin, Nate, and myself met him face on while Markin slipped into the shadows. It was at this point that I became incapacitated.

When I came to, the man was dead and Laeali was mending Nate. Eidrin displayed surprising tempermentality, and Laeali chased him down to mend him so that he wouldn’t further damage himself. Be aware that Eidrin does not seem to be very level headed after a fight; he almost turned on Laeali, but instead ran off.

I dismissed everyone once the injuries had been seen to, retrieved Hammertoe’s head for presentation, and carried Chuckles to Booty Bay.

-Ashtivar ‘Ashes’ Whiteoak

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Brittle Bones

 

((For those wondering where Ashtivar has been this week.))

Her thumbs were hooked in her belt, as usual, shit-eating grin spread wide over her lips in a faint leer. Eidrin watched her, a growl in his throat, regarding her with dark eyes beneath unruly black hair. “Where have you been?”

She winked a broad wink. “I wos off bein’ awesome, doin’ Harvest Witch thangs, y’ken?”

He rolled his eyes, a very faint smile curling over his lips before vanishing almost as soon as it appeared. “I’m sure.”

She crept in on silent paws, a shadow in the mists, a lurking presence between the trees. Her muzzle lifted to scent the air, ears pinned flat to her skull. The going had been rough, a matter of memories made hazy by time, of dodging Forsaken patrols and stepping on silent paws. Danger was a cobweb waiting to ensnare her by the thinnest strand, but turning back hadn’t crossed her mind.

There it was- a dark shape in the morning mist, hunched and ugly. Had it always been so squat and dark? Cautious, tentative, she allowed her feline form to shift, rising on two furred legs to regard her target. A faint frown furrowed her browline, yellow eyes puzzled.

The thatched roof had kept it dry, though the hinges on the old door had been rusted. It was a struggle to open, requiring her to use her form’s brutal strength to shoulder through. The wood was swollen from the moisture in the air, wedged firmly closed. The sky felt low and claustrophobic, the clouds gray-bellied and seeming to scrape the tree-tops. But that was just how home had always felt- the small clearing was riddled with memories, the long toil of her studies, the sharp tongued invectives wielded against her by granmere…

In retrospect, she should have turned back. But she’d never been good at making the Right decisions.

Inside it was dark. She stood on heavy padded paws, the tips of her worgen claws reflexively tapping, scraping the dust and leaving furrows in the darkness. A tufted ear quirked back, but only the rustle of the wind through the trees met her attentive hearing. The rats had all fled at the onset of light.

She could smell rust and dampness, small rodent life. She could smell the musty black mold creeping over old parchments, stealing away a lifetime’s reflections, erasing the past as though it had never been.

She could smell death lingering in the corners, subtle on her tongue.

Padding to the windows, her clumsily clawed fingers pried and scrabbled at the shutters. Brittle wood splintered and snapped, and she visibly winced at the sound, ears lacing back to pin to her skull. No curses split the air, no indignant growls- only the memory of a woman who would have tanned her hide from her clumsiness. A phantom in her mind, wielding a walking stick as if it were a saber- her jaw tightened, eyes narrowing with silent grief.

Pale, dreary grey light flooded the hut, relentless; she turned her gaze on it, yellow eyes snapping to the mantle.

The bits of brain and bone were long faded away, buried beneath layers of dust and gnawed by rats. But she found what she was looking for in the small, withered lump that rested there, beside a toppled cauldron. She turned to make note of the rest of the cabin, lingering on a cobweb-draped cage, perusing the shattered vials from a long-toppled shelf. Mysterious reagents, withered to carapaces of what they once were, were arranged across the table, resting in dust and broken glass. The wood floor creaked beneath the leather of her boots- she didn’t even recall shifting down to her human self. Her skin felt strangely naked and vulnerable. But somehow, it only seemed right.

Careful, steps quiet, she turned her attention back to the shrouded figure on the floor. She spied the curve of an aged femur peeking out from beneath tattered rags. Her hands formed fists at her sides.

She crept closer, though it was in her heart to run, to flee these desecrated memories. She shouldn’t have come in the first place. It was too late to turn back now; blood called to her, blood bound her to duty. She shouldn’t have come- she could have come long ago. It was impossible to tell through the turmoil of her unsteady heartbeat.

A reverent fingertip turned back the brittle scrap of fabric that had once been a hood; moldering flesh and decay had glued it to the skull. There was a dry crunch as she pulled away a leathery fragment of what had once been skin and silver-white hair. Now it was dark with dried viscera, tangled and matted in blood.

Hollow eyesockets stared at her, jaw fallen open, leering obscenely. She hadn’t realized she held her breath until she let it out, a tightness constricting her throat, eyes prickling painfully as tears encroached. Her jaw tightened and an inhuman growl contorted her voice. The dull roar in her mind grew louder.

It took minutes, to gather herself and corral what remained of her nerves; her heart thundered in her chest, urging her to run or fight, but there was nothing here to fight. She had a task to do, and she wouldn’t leave without its completion. A shaking hand moved to draw the crusted cloth back over the skull, hiding that inhuman grin from sight, and she steeled herself before reaching to grip great handfuls of fabric, to drag what remained of Penelope the Crone out of her desecrated hermit’s hovel.

She was halfway across the floor, clearing a trail through dust and leaves, when the fabric came apart, disintegrated and brittle with rot and time. Pale bone froze her where she crouched, profanely bright against the moldering robes. A shudder crept across her and she turned aside, turning her yellow eyes to the familiar forest. Sickness knotted her belly. The roaring was unbearably loud, and the marrow in her bones felt molten. The wrongness of it struck her like a rock to the temple, threatened to send her fleeing like a leaf skittering over cobbles in the wind- but she stayed. As wrong as it was, as indecent, it would have been worse if she’d left it there.

Turning back, she moved to tenderly gather the bones in what remained of the cloth, scarcely breathing, scarcely seeing. It would have been impossible, if she thought about it too long, too hard. The skeleton fought her, dried ligaments insufficient to keep it together. A femur dragged across the floor, then caught against the doorway; her load lightened, the leg left behind. A knucklebone rolled from the fetid fabric. It was all she could do not to scream her grief, her outrage. This was wrong.

Ashtivar spent the day digging, not far from the weathered hut with the heavy thatch roof. An old rusted shovel chipped at the earth, the blade of it driving deep. Her boots became dark with mud, skin salty with the sweat of her labor and withheld tears. With single-minded focus, she drove her shovel through roots and snarled at every rock that dared intrude, worrying away at her solitary grave with the tenacity of a rat terrier. Her lips peeled back from her teeth in a growl. She dug deep, and it was past nightfall before the sound of shovel striking earth fell to silence.

The first pale finger of dawn’s gray light found the bones buried and fresh earth mounded over the grave, at the base of an ancient sycamore tree.

A single candle flickered, flame a fragile, slender thing against the breeze. Ashtivar stared at it intently, rough hands folded before her, chin tucked to her chest, but there was a terrible intensity to her gaze.

They’d pay for what they’d done.

She couldn’t stay long; she could smell them on the wind, smell the taint of their existence. Her mind’s ear could hear the unearthly scraping of sinew against leather, the dry rustle of bones and the rasping crackle of their foul tongues against yellow teeth.

Rising from her grave, limbs tense and stiff, she turned to the hovel one final time, the setting of a thousand lessons learned under threat of cane. For all that they’d cursed one another’s existence, Ashtivar had loved her grandmother deeply- and in her final hours, her grandmother had proven that it was reciprocal.

Something caught her eye- out of place.

A yellowed knucklebone left forgotten on the doorstep.

She stooped to pick it up, turned to eye her grave. Her throat tightened, tears threatening to spill once again, anger burning in the pit of her belly. She would never forget.

Her fist clenched briefly around the bone, then secreted it away in a small leather pouch at her belt.

Shivering into the form of a dark-furred cat, she evaporated into the forests of what had once been her home and crept back for the Wall, and for Stormwind.

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