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Archive for the ‘Letters’ Category

Odynae Dawnhammer gathered her things in the pre-dawn quiet, tilting an ear to the sound of the river’s flow and the reedy nighttime crickets.

It was a familiar ritual, one she’d engaged in as routine for years, now- the packing, the leaving. So many bits and pieces of her lifetime had been left behind, forgotten or abandoned out of necessity for traveling fast and light. Idly, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d return here again.

She rather hoped she would.

In the back of the lean-to they’d made using the broken beams of what had once been Spicer Manor, a rather under-sized bronze whelp was curled atop a pile of ragged blankets, Gaell resting quietly beside him. Dyna frowned, trying to shed the uneasy prickling of wariness in her spine; she was going to have to make some explanation for the whelp’s presence. It seemed unlikely that Tristen would fail to realize the signfigance of her new traveling companion. Yet there were many secrets- no, stories, she corrected herself- that would need to be unraveled if she was to elaborate on why, precisely, she was playing nanny to a denizen of the Bronze Dragonflight.

Still, it was a bridge they’d cross when they got to it, she supposed. Dyna was one who liked to keep her secrets to herself, in spite of all the Bastion’s attempts to change the habit; she’d been too long involved with the time demon, and found herself regretting less what she never said in the first place. It was simpler this way; cleaner.

Fewer people got hurt.

Her gaze roved to her travel pack, a signifigant item bristling with weaponry she couldn’t quite bear to part with- then to the great pole she’d scavenged in the ruins, soon to bear the McAllister penant. In spite of her misgivings, the woman felt a smile at her lips at the thought of something so normal, so noble, as a ranging journey through the different Argent outposts alongside her knight-master. This was the sort of venture a younger Dyna had dreamed of, had yearned for with every earnest fiber of her bleeding heart; she couldn’t deny the excitement that seized her, that played along her limbs like static. This was what she’d thought she was meant for, the first day she left the Abbey.

Yet the path she’d found had never truly intersected much with the one she’d imagined in her wild youthful daydreams. It felt strange, to do this now. She was older than her years, muscular form riddled with scar tissue- she could feel the changing of the seasons and the coming of the rain in the thick knotting of pale scars. Her shoulder was stiff in the mornings, her joints arthritic… and the temperence of pain had been painted also with the innate suspicion of one who’d been betrayed and played the fool too frequently to trust anything at face value.

She didn’t seem like a woman of one and twenty years… but then, it had been a very long time since she’d felt her own age.

With a faint sigh, she set about to penning the notes to those who might be impacted by her absence.

Dear Eddrick,

I don’t know where you are but I assume you’re on a mission with the Legion, if last night’s brief glance was any indication. I’m heading off with Sir Tristen McAllister, to whom I have mentioned I am presently squired; I’ve taken Roger and Gaell with me, I’m leaving Newt to fend for himself. If you get a chance, give him a rub down, aye?

I’m not certain when I’ll be back, but I intend to have regular contact with miss Diane Marviere through her book. If there’s anything you need, just speak to her.

Please don’t get within fifty feet of miss Lansing, I’d really rather the hut not smell like goblin piss.

Also, show Kanniffler his new workshop, if you get the chance.

Light watch over you, brother,

– Odynae Dawnhammer

To Miss Fallowbrook,

I am presently engaged on mounted patrol with Sir Tristen McAllister, but he has been appraised of my need to venture north at a moment’s notice; please inform miss Diane Marviere to contact me when I am needed. If she is not available, Talonn can also meet me- should you be able to overcome your dislike of highborn.

Again, I stress, I very much desire to be a part of that mission; I have the feeling I will be needed.

-Dyna

Ziras,

I hope this note finds you well in your endeavors, and that plans have gone accordingly since last we spoke.

At present, I have been called upon to perform my squirely duties as a paladin and as a soldier, but when I return, I hope to find a moment in which to speak to you regarding Vice.

I feel that he would benefit from additional tutelage and the chance to leave the city for a bit; I’ve a fondness for the lad, and I would be more than happy to provide escort for him to visit some of the many wonderful places a growing boy might enjoy. We can speak at greater length once I return, if you are willing.

– Dawnhammer

This note is penned inside a book, the twin of which rests in Diane Marviere’s satchel; a magical oddity, it would seem the book allows instantaneous communication between the two parties. Whatever is written in one book, may also be found in the other.

Dear Diane,

I’m sorry that the first thing I’m writing is the news that I will be absent of Stormwind for a time; but I hope to know what goes on through you and this clever book. I still think it’s a brilliant idea, and I do hope you haven’t lost yours…

I am going on a tour to the Argent outposts with Sir Tristen McAllister, the man who squired me- I don’t recall if that’s something I’d mentioned, but then, it hasn’t been a large fact in my life for some time now. I’ve left notes for Edd and Shalaara saying that they may contact you to reach me. I hope this okay, as Shalaara may have something very important for me soon, and Edd is- well- Edd.

This is the sort of thing I used to think I’d do all the time, when I was younger and felt sure that I would be a knight someday. Maybe next time, it’ll be you and I doing this journey; do you suppose you’d like that? It would entail a great deal of camping… and could be dangerous, though the enemies I anticipate are undead and thus your curse would not extend to them.

Do you remember that large worgen who introduced us to his daddy, the man that fixed your legs? If you see him, you should ask him to join you for cherry drinks. I think he’d like that, and that you’d be a good influence on him.

I’m sorry I didn’t come say goodbye directly, but hopefully I won’t be gone for too long.

All of my love,

Dyna

This final note is left pinned to the door of the O’Donnelly house in Lakeshire, long absent of its denizens- including the woman who left the note.

Dear Myk,

If you find this, it means you’re home- and that many of my fears were for naught.

Sir McAllister and I are off doing a tour of Argent outposts. If you need reach us, please find Diane Marviere, as I have given up the Bastion’s colors and no long possess a comm stone.

Wherever you are, I hope you are well and I pray for your safe return,

-D

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Marlbane moved quickly across the grey stone walkways, feature hidden in the shadow of her cowl, head bowed against the misting rain as she made her way toward the sanctum. There was something small clutched in her hand, knuckles standing white against the surface of her skin, half-hidden in the wide sleeves of a robe just a little too long and large for her.

The whisper of her footsteps was all but drowned by the much heavier collision of plated boots against stone, and a man’s voice called out through the courtyard-

“Wait- my lady!”

The voice paused the hooded woman in her steps, and she glanced over her shoulder, expression guarded. There something in her eyes that seemed to set the man on edge, and his smile instantly faltered- then ebbed away. He clattered as he slowed to a more cautious walk, frowning as he caught up.

“My lady, may I accompany you?” The smile in his voice was replaced by formality as he extended his arm courteously, but the woman quickly shook her head, opening her mouth as if to say something- then closing it. Her eyes half lidded as she remained very still a moment, a faint tremor stealing over her.

The man frowned as he searched her features, brow creasing. “Are you feeling alright?”

She looked aside, beginning to shake her head- then suddenly; she threw her head back, letting the hood fall free of her tawny hair. The rigidity of her posture evaporated, her well-known reticence to speak seeming to fall away entirely. Her words were soft, breathlessly spoken, lips held slightly parted. There was a strange purr to her voice, the pitch of it abruptly whimsical- the sound was at odds with her usual clipped, haughty speech.  “I feel much better, now that you’re here…”

She cocked her head to the side, one bright eye regarding the man beneath lazily half closed lids, the shade of it was more green than hazel in the morning’s grey light. She stretched, lacing her fingertips behind the small of her back; her breasts pressed tight against the heavy embroidery of her neckline, threatening to spill over. “Perhaps we might go somewhere more private?”

Whatever had been in her hands a moment ago was nowhere in sight now.

His gaze had discovered her cleavage, and his head offered a jerking nod in turn, a puzzled expression turning to a hesitant smile on his lips. He followed uncertainly, never knowing it was his own death he so willingly courted.

Incident Report

Time: Midday

Location: Orchard behind the Sanctum

Witness(es): None

Victim(s): Squire Jenson, deceased; Marlbane Brightmoore, MIA

Others: Incident was discovered by Sir Milo Woodard, culprit is unknown

Description: Jenson was found denuded, armor and leathers discarded not far from the body. His genitals were removed and remain undiscovered, his body mutilated with crude words cut into the skin. Cause of death in uncertain; preliminary investigations suggest that the mutilation was performed postmortem.

Words rendered were a difficult to discern combination of threat and obscenity. The terms ‘whore’ ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ were prominently featured, and there was the following notice left in what appears to be blood on parchment by a madman. Probably Forsaken.

‘FALSE IDOLS WILL BURN AND YOUR LIGhT WILL EXTNGUISH, LEFT aLONE TO SUFFER THE GRAVES OF LITTLE ChILDREN LaY EMPTY AND ABOMINATIONs RISE ThIS ONE WAS LUCKY WHO IS THE MONSTeR THAT GOES BUMP iN THE NIGHT CHOKEs oN YOur PRIDE AND YOUR AVARICE sTUPID FALSE ECHOES in the mountains in the mountains in the mountains we will play beneath a broken sky in a shattered ruined place you will die YOU WILL DIE like a goat with a knife in his belly KNIFE IN HIS BELLY knife KNIFE knife KNIFE false knighthoods and damned souls THE DEAD MAN WAS THE LUCKY ONE’

Marlbane Brightmoore was noticed to be missing not long after the discovery of the body. Tracks indicate that a much smaller humanoid accompanied Jenson; it can be presumed that Brightmoore has been abducted by whoever defiled Jenson’s body.

Recommended Action: Mourn our losses and be done with it. No good can come of this.

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The cold of the water was numbing, as she furiously scrubbed at the delicate silks. Her slender fingertips had become boney and knobbly, since she’d left the comforts of the city behind; the soft pads had grown calloused and dirty, and never seemed to truly come clean. And her garments; Light, no matter how she scrubbed… still the stains lingered. She didn’t have so many, that she could simply toss them aside when they became dirty.

They didn’t fit so well now, either… a bitter smile twitched at her lips. She remembered snapping at Tarquill, wanting to know the ingredients to his mana cakes- wanting to know if they’d make her plump or not. Heavens forbid her waistline should expand for a simple want of sweets!

But the gracious curves that had so drawn the eyes of those around her had ebbed away; her round hips were growing unpleasantly bony as she spread her skirts about them. The well tailored robes of yesterday now hung on her like ragged scraps, no longer fitted; always, she was aware of the burning in her belly, of the gnawing ache of hunger. Soon, cold and bitter spring would burst into bright summer; then, she promised herself, then she would find fruit and things to eat. Berries dangling like candy from scrubby branches, peaches ripening in the trees. Her diet these days consisted of what she could catch, what she could dig from the ground. It was unseemly, but she was too hungry not to cook what she could scavenge… oh, how that place where her pride had been ached.

It had been better, before. At least she wasn’t eating rats. She had been warm and well fed; had more company than the demons in her head. The lump rose in her throat, and she bent her head to the task of scrubbing. Why was blood so damned hard to get out of things…?

She’d killed, now, three times. The specters of the lives she’d ended seemed to dance at the edges of her vision. The last one had been the night before. The woman had come upon her while she was sleeping… Marlbane had awoken to touch of cold steel against her neck, an uncouth voice whispering tenderly, demanding to know where she kept her valuable stashed. It had scarcely taken a thought; the fel magics had burst from her lips, whispering energies pooling from her palms as she gripped the woman’s back. She hadn’t had the chance to use her own blood to strengthen the spells; had repelled her with absolute terror. She could’ve let the woman escape, but… the thief would only have returned to cut her throat another night. No one expected fallen, feral nobility to fight back, did they?

She was too tired to regret killing again. Too hungry. The ragged corpse hadn’t even had any food on her; the girl had been scarcely older than Marlbane herself, and just as skinny, if not more so.

Klathmon had told her she’d done well, but she was too exhausted to feel any sense of satisfaction in the demon’s praise. She was still alive, without their help.

To Sir Nessun,

The days run together, the nights go on for an eternity. I watch, always I keep watching. I see how one might come to love these hills, these rolling plains of endless grass. Looming pillars of rock, and a sky that I hope will soon turn from grey to blue. It is strange to think of such as my home now. Ever have I lived in the shelter of stone walls to guard me, heavy drapes to keep the cold from getting in.

I miss hot tea and fresh bread. I miss the simple comfort of sitting in a cushioned chair. I miss the dancing, controlled flame of a wax taper, not plagued by any breeze.

Still. This sort of life has its own benefits. Perhaps stone walls and civilized life was only ever a cage to keep one contained, trapped- burdened by politics and schemes.

I’m afraid I have little more to report. Please, tell me how I might see for you. There was no response to my last letter. I hope you are well.

If you’ve turned on me, there will be consequences, as I have done little more than become your faithful watcher in these highlands and do not deserve such treatment. Believe me, I have lied in the past; I am a skilled agent of deceit. But never once have I betrayed you, and I expect the same in turn.

Light bless and keep you,

Lady Brightmoore

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She trembled violently as she struggled to scrub the blood from her palms, breath coming out in short little gasps. Her shoulders hunched as she plied herself to the task, barely even aware of the coldness of the water, of the dirt in it. Her too-bright eyes darted upward, scanning the clouds for signs of company. The wind whispered through the grasses, moaning a soft eulogy for the slowly cooling corpse behind her.

Jhorthea’s long, shapely thighs parted in a wide step, her slender fingertips curving to brush across a hip. She exhaled a sigh of pure exultation, lips curling into a wicked grin. Her long tongue dashed across her smile, lingering obscenely. Her voice was a meaningless purr, the words blossoming from a tension in the back of Marlbane’s neck.

He got what was coming to him, pet. We only had a bit of fun first.

She simpered and exhaled a girlish little giggle, a fingertip tracing her shapely bosom. Blood smeared the succubus’ skin, and she seemed strangely content, staring out up at the skies and panting a little. Slowly, deliberately, she turned to eye Marlbane, her gaze savage and her smile too sweet- like spoiled fruit, slowly fermenting.

Marlbane shook her head. “That is not what we agreed on.” Her voice was higher than it should have been; she felt like a fool, a thrice damned fool. Her tongue still burned, her lips ached… her very teeth were sore from the taint of fel magics exiting her lips. She didn’t bother looking at the dead man. She knew what he looked like, knew what her magics and Jhorthea’s toying had done. It made her feel sick all over again.

A bright, burbling laugh seemed to sputter up from the base of her neck, causing the woman to stiffen. Her lips pulled down in a tight frown, eyes half lidding. Jhorthea was immensely pleased with herself. You had to learn the womanly arts someday, didn’t you? Come now, it wasn’t… scintillating?

The whisper was entirely too self-satisfied, accompanied by vivid flashes of recollection. Skin slowly being peeled from the man’s naked, quivering body. The rippling movement of skin against skin, and the animal musk of their dalliance…

She was going to be sick again. She couldn’t bring herself to look over her shoulder, couldn’t look the man in his lifeless eyes.

He hadn’t deserved what had happened to him.

Grunts and drawn out groans of pleasure had rapidly been replaced with shrills of pain. At first it had excited him; but that hadn’t lasted long.

When  he’d died- no. When she’d killed him. It had been mercy, to crush his neck between her fingers and squeeze until his heart had stopped. It hadn’t taken long. He was weeping as the light in his eyes grew dim. Like a child, he’d wept while Jhorthea watched, herself sated.

She scrubbed her palms and forced herself to her feet after a moment, smoothing her skirts with a twitch of her hand. She felt- soiled, for having born witness to it. Debased. There were some things that she couldn’t rid herself of, stains that lingered to her very soul…

Clenching her teeth, she turned to regard Jhorthea with a cold stare, ignoring the demon’s state of voluptuous undress.

“Go. Now.” Her voice was still higher than it should have been, but there was a hint of control, of mastery there; this seemed to give the demon pause. Jhorthea lofted one finally plucked brow, staring dubiously at the woman. A smirk spread over her lips, and she undulated forward, drawing the barbed leather of her cruel lash over a bared breast. You aren’t in any position to give orders, now are you pet?

She felt heat rising in her cheeks. She couldn’t watch this- couldn’t watch the demon shiver and writhe under her own touch. Quailing backward, she averted her gaze, feeling her heart beginning to pound in her chest. “Please stop. Please. Please. I don’t want to– just go away… please…”

When she looked up again, she was alone. Nothing but the corpse of the hapless man, and the crushed grasses where she’d been sleeping.

To my Paladin friend,

I would that I had your distraction, the emptiness of something with a purpose to fill it. Like a clay pot in a fire, I’ve no water to hold, no purpose to fulfill of myself; I must surely shatter for lack of it. I fear that someday you will pace the highlands only to discover your long missing priestess, bones caved in between the fine silks I will have once worn… how dreary a thought, to think on how easy it might be for my head to cave beneath your heel. How morbid, indeed. I fear I am not myself these days.

The days seem to blend together like the grass that seems to have become a fact of my new, crude life. You speak of vengeance, of Crusading and heroism and glory. Restored honor. Hope. These are things I can scarce comprehend, now; all I see is rock and grass. All I hear is the interminable wind bearing down on my back, the sound of my own ragged heartbeat and the cries of wolves and savages.

I have ranged far to the south. There lies a village of trolls there, and I do think they might pose a problem for you. I would recommend eliminating them, the feckless cannibals; or perhaps some subterfuge to set them against the Forsaken. I would leave such scheming to a more devious mind than my own.

I am- genuinely sorry to hear of the loss of your child, Sir Alito. I may be a cold and heartless sort of woman, but even I must sympathize with this. It is wise, that you recognize your own inability to bring this child back. People have done more dangerous, more fool-hardy things that what you have planned for such an atrocity. Do not think that this is something that can be fixed, because you are right; it cannot. But you can prevent it from happening again. Perhaps those who will inevitably fall in stride alongside you will be right to do so.

A woman who walks behind,

Priestess

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Marlbane sat quietly perched on a large outcropping of stone, watching the wind buffet the tall grasses of the Arathi Highlands with an impassive eye.

Her slender frame was too small, too easily enveloped by the vastness of her surroundings; it was a simple thing, to disappear out here. Too simple. In time, she would be forgotten by those who had known her. House Brightmoore will be succeeded by her cousins- probably already was, for she’d made no claim to it yet, even a week after her grandmother’s tragic demise would surely have been discovered.

It would have been nearly thoughtless- to leave the broken grasses beside the small pond behind, to forget that any Nessun Alito had ever paused there and offered her a hand of kindness.

However brief that hand may have between their heated exchange of barbed words- mostly barbed on her end, heated on his- she felt a distinct measure of debt was owed, and it gave her pause. He’d seen the crude words emblazoned in her flesh. He’d stayed there, keeping watch over the temporarily shared camp… and though she wasn’t foolish enough to believe she was his only concern in lingering there, it was still a gallant gesture.

His presence had kept them away for the evening, as well. Kept them from invoking themselves without her leave, temporarily gifted her with the upper hand- if only for the evening. Those lingering hours had been bittersweet; she was all too aware of her own weakness, of how small she really was, inside her own head. And she hadn’t been able to stop herself from picking at the man- like any fine huntress, she searched out his weaknesses and prodded and prodded. He’d been furious, and then- he’d been jovial. It made little sense.

They weren’t happy about this strange… was it even a friendship? Possibly. She didn’t know. Had she ever truly had a friend?

She could have had many friends, had they not been there. Haydin, the Confessor- hell, even the wretched ugly draenei had been kind to her, once.

But not so, anymore. She was well and truly alone out here, with no one but them to keep her company- and this one slender tie remaining. A foolish desire, perhaps. But what better things had she to do? She couldn’t return to Stormwind. She couldn’t go home.

They allowed it, if she agreed not to seek his presence. He was only a danger to them when he was there.

She shook herself free of the thoughts, and turned to her page, lips thinning.

To my promiscuous Light-wielding friend,

I have done as you’ve asked me.

Stromgarde is occupied by two opposed forces, one of which bears the colors of the Old Guard there, the other of which appears to be Syndicate, from habit and dress. I feel you ought to be warned that many of the Syndicate remaining there are the kind that immerse themselves in perversion. I have seen their demons and their vile rites, the scent of fel magic is near overwhelming. I would urge caution against these, as such creatures are among the lowest there are. There are also many among them who seem to flit from shadow to shadow, preferring to strike at the exposed back of an enemy rather than face him head on. I would concern myself with this, were I you; a force of direct opposition might be flanked and destroyed by treachery.

I do not believe the ill-favored pirates that occupy the nearby cove would work with this Syndicate. Their desire appears to be to return to sea as rapidly as possible, where they might continue their profiteering off the misery of others. Still, for the creation of a Fist to strike north, one might consider such stingy, crude mannered methods to invoke terror and chaos- or as a distraction.

Should you have the means to help them recover their ship, and the cold cash to employ their interest, you might possibly buy their temporary loyalty and dispatch them to move like shadows over the sea, destroying sea-port settlements of the Forsaken while launching a secondary attack elsewhere when their blind, rotted gaze turns to defense.

I have learned little of this Syndicate, as I am reluctant to approach them. Give me time, and I will see what I may learn without being discovered. I have my methods, of course.

I do hope your lewdness has gone well for you. May the many bastards you seek to father prosper in these hard times. Pass your whore my regards- or rather, do not, as I’ve no wish to be hunted down and gutted of an evening. I will forever treasure that look on her face when I discovered her lecherous little act.

Keep to your silence, and I will continue to learn what I may about local habits and policies. The pirates were an unpleasant experience. I do not think I shall return to their wretched little cove.
May the Light guide you,

A priestess

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