Roundabout

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  1. Roundabout

    Arkanford

    warlocks are good people and totally trustworthy am i right my fellow arkanians
  2. a year and a half later, the finale preface: though paragon has not reached the events of 7.3.5 yet, i may as well share this last chapter before the story moves to a different avenue and i really have no intention of getting involved on paragon with this character if i ever return at all also fuck the double spacing i used to do while writing to make it look like it was longer appropriate listening: Chapter Final: Infinite Unknown “Do you have any idea what you’ve done? The people you’ve killed?” Thunderous steps shifted the sand nearby as a large man approached, causing the woman kneeling at edge of the oasis to turn her head. She pressed her hands to her knees and stood fully, but even at her height, which was taller than average, she was dwarfed by this massive mountain of a man. “It is just over this ridge,” said the man, his features hidden a hood and cloak. He gestured two fingers at a small pass, barely visible, up the hillside. They were already so high in the mountains it was hard to believe they couldn’t already see what they came for. The woman lifted her own hood over her head, and pulled it tightly around her short blonde hair, the grey-white fabric of it standing out against the olive green of her jacket. She shifted toward the pass and started on her way after brushing her wet hands off on her sand-scuffed black pants. “You already know what you are going to see, Red. It can be seen for miles,” the man spoke again. He shrugged his enormous leather sack over his shoulder as they began to move again. “I know. I still have to see it,” she said. Red, as she was called these days, kept a brisk pace. She always had to be the first one ahead, even if that meant tiring herself out in order to stay ahead of her gigantic companion. Over the last several years, this had at least helped her build up more stamina. “I just have to see it,” she said more quietly, repeating it only to herself. The two reached the top after an hour’s climb. The long journey was at last at an end. Flying and magical traffic was heavily monitored, so it had taken some time for them. An old friend was able to ferry her out to Uldum and then the trek began. She had been so used to instantaneous travel and moving as quickly as possible while she was on Argus that a trek of a few days was startling. Looking at the devastation of a place she had been was more startling than anything she had seen on any other dead world. “Promise never to leave me.” “I promise.” Never did find her body. Red felt tears fall down her cheeks. She had never lived here, in Silithus. She had only spent a few weeks of her life here at best. Yet, the one she loved had spent most of her life here. Red had known her lover’s family, heard hers and their stories. She knew Silithus as well as most Humans really ever could. Now there was nothing left. Everything that had made the desert wasteland a storied landscape of great adversity and triumph had disappeared. Was this what had haunted my nightmares? “I did not take you to be one to cry over an empty desert on a doomed world,” came the words that broke her out of her stupor, the deep and bellowing voice hiding a hint of amusement. “There are still some things can that move me to tears, Non. Old memories of a person I used to be. Promises left unfulfilled,” she let her steps carry her to the edge of the cliff. Once, there would have been winds that would have pushed her from her perch, but the magic that saturated the air seemed to stifle everything, including the wind. Her blue-green eyes scanned the horizon, as if searching for something. She knew it would not be there. “When I became Red, I learned that my Alleyah had died. Though, she wasn’t really my Alleyah anymore. At least, everyone thought she died. They never found her. Now, no one ever will, but at least all of the bugs are dead. If we had the time before the next shift, I would have liked to make certain her family was fine,” she explained. “We already stopped at your shrine you set up at your old home. Think this is your last goodbye?” Non asked. It was impossible to see his expression beneath his hood and mask, but for the yellow glow of his eyes. He hunched over her, likely out of fear she might fall. “It is. We have a job to do. Let’s meet back up with Acorn and Jin.” “I am what you were always meant to be.” The trip down took only a day. At the bottom awaited Red’s hippogryph, Acorn, and a manic Sin’dorei working on various pieces of equipment. The gigantic bird let loose a caw and approached Red. Red in turn, produced some meat from the last night’s hunt and tossed it at the beast. She ran her fingers along the green felt and feathers, before leaving her mount to her meal. “I trust you’ve made some progress, Jin?” she asked, straightening her posture. The gaunt and emaciated Sin’dorei lifted a spindly hand to adjust his glasses up his nose, “Yes, and you should be thankful that I was able to make the calculations here and not elsewhere, or your nostalgic trip would not have been possible. I was worried the two of you might not make it in time. How else are we going to track down your double? Not likely without you,” he said. He did not take the time to even look at them, instead fiddling with one of his instruments, a crystal set upon a tripod mount. “Forgive her the sentimentality, Jin. While you and I have long been company to the lonely terror of loss, Red has only been without for a few years,” Non said, slapping the Sin’dorei on the back. The sheer force of it nearly knocked the silver-haired elder down, but he played it off as having tripped instead. “Yes, well. I suppose I am being rather callous. Then again, after Quel’thalas fell, I busied myself on quite the adventure without missing a beat,” Jin said. “So you always say,” Red said, hoping to cut him off at that. “I still have plenty of that story to tell! Now, it’s starting to approach noon. The only time we’ll be able to make this jump without someone noticing and getting into trouble for it. You think the Bronze Dragonflight are terrible Time Police, wait until you meet the Space Police. Well, hope you don’t,” he said, tugging at his collar, “because the man I knew who met whatever they are only came back in pieces and a journal.” “Do you have a better name for them, than Space Police?” Red asked. “No. No theories at all. Clearly they don’t function like our friendly-neighborhood Time Police, but I know little else beyond that. All I know is to follow the rules. They’re like those rules that the Dalaran magi wrote up, about rampant portal usage disrupting ley lines,” he said, grumbling that last line out in clear annoyance. After a moment of silence, Jin’s instruments began to whirr to life. He clapped his hands and made a wide gesture to stand out of the way. Non and Red moved away from the group of crystals and various measuring devices just in time for the sun to shine on the crystal. A small beam focused outward into the empty air and opened up a small portal, which rapidly expanded into a swirling cyan mass of color and magic. “Now’s the time. Farewell, this Azeroth. Hello, whatever comes next on the grand quest to kill your space-hopping doppleganger and her merry band of delinquents,” Jin said, hopping into the portal after to avoid any rebuttal. “You get used to it, trust me,” Non said, as he too meandered into the portal. Red whistled for Acorn, who promptly left her meal behind to join her rider. She grabbed a hold of her reins and led her into the portal, stepping into the unknown. Together, the four of them would put an end to the beast that called itself Seris, that once called itself Esilen. The Legion may be gone, but many of their agents were still out there, and the ones as powerful as Seris needed to be stopped. After a few minutes, the crystal exploded, taking the instruments and surrounding bits of sand and rock with it, leaving only a crater. I will avenge everything I’ve lost.
  3. Chapter 9.7: An Empty Home As Esilen's memories slowly returned to her, she became more and more aware of how empty the home was. Acorn still laid in her happy little hut, loyal and waiting as always, but the rest of the home was so terribly quiet. Never had Esilen wished for a voice, the caw of a crow, or the whisper of even one of her own voices. Anything to break the great silence-- and then Acorn let out a roar as she took to the skies, likely off to hunt. She admired the Hippogryph as she soared through the open sky, something she herself would no longer be able to do. She stepped inside her home to find things much how they were left, if only cold and unlit. Dust and cobwebs crawled over every which thing. Old momentos from her early adventuring days, Alleyah's mysterious elven artifacts, the furniture, and even the trinkets they'd brought back from Pandaria all laid dormant and caked in the pesky particles. The garden was empty, no longer maintained by anyone's magic. To her left, Esilen could see the portrait that Alleyah had commissioned of her laying on its side, behind the couch. Promise you'll never leave me. Yeah, some keeper of promises Esilen turned out to be. She shook her head and made her way upstairs. The upstairs rooms were spared much of the dust. The wind more easily flowed through the upper tier, keeping things from settling too much. Esilen wasn't sure what she was doing. There was no one here. Not a soul. No crows, no Druids, no Alleyah. Just harsh reminders of the promise she broke in her weakest moment. She reached up to her forehead, squinting her eyes closed as she tried to remember more. How long had it been? It felt like she'd been asleep. There were flashes of what she'd done as a puppet of Matria, but they disappeared as fast as anything else. The magic would need to wear off before she truly remembered any more. For all she knew, it had been well over a year. Perhaps even more, since she left. Alleyah had said she could never keep this home without Esilen in it, so at least that much was true. Stepping into the bedroom, she walked over to the wardrobe, opening it up. Some of her robes, some other clothes. Robes would only hinder her movement at this point. Without her magic, it was useless to wear them. She gathered a handful and shoved them into a sack nearby. Thankfully, while she couldn't use any magic herself, she could still carry magical items around. Satisfied, she turned to leave again. Walking downstairs, she passed by a sad little broom, sitting lifeless nearby. Once, she'd have flicked her wrist to keep the house clean, but that practice had stopped well before Esilen had ever left. Alleyah's encouragement to stop using magic had stuck with her for so long. If she had to pin down exactly what shifted her back into her wasteful ways, it was the war in Pandaria. The stress, the difficulties, the battles, they all took their toll on her when she had already resigned herself to a happy, quiet life in the mountains. None of what happened was worth any of the loss. Perhaps, instead, it was the near-death experience. She had almost bled out from a simple gunshot wound. Her mortality had always scared her, but it broke something inside her. And the strain on her relationship with Alleyah over the two of them having been unfaithful with each other continued to wear her down. These memories at least, were still in tact. She wished she could go back in time, prevent herself from answering the voices. But the whispers of the Fel can entice any mortal with a weak mind, and Esilen's was, unfortunately, much weakened. Throwing the sack over her shoulder, she stepped out onto the porch and walked down the stairs toward Acorn's hut. Rummaging through her old sack, she pulled out a whistle and blew it. The hippogryph responded in turn, coming down from her hunt and landing nearby. "Hey Acorn. Been a long time. I'd have food for you, but I'm sure everything here has been spoiled three times over," she said to the beast. The intelligent avian simply turned her head and then leaned forward to nudge Esilen's arm, "Tell you what," she continued, "Let's go on a hunt together." She rubbed the Hippogryph's beak and then moved into the hut to heft Acorn's saddle. After some hassle, Esilen managed to secure it tightly, and then hopped on top of Acorn's back, "You'll probably need to get used to this again, old girl. We won't be coming back home for awhile. There's something I have to do. And more I have to remember. And even more that I have to make up for." The Hippogryph unfurled her wings and, with a running start, leaped into the sky. Destination, unknown.
  4. Chapter 9.5: Dirt Days passed by. Alcaz Island. What remained of Onyxia's Lair. A hidden ally. Warring with oneself. Discovery. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana. When I was a girl, my father took me to Silvermoon City. Knowing that Nickolas had talent in the arcane arts, he hoped the same for me. Yet, every elf spurned me. Every mage looked the other way. Still, I was too little to truly understand their contempt. On the way home, Dalaran offered the same welcome. I did not know if my father was truly angry with me, or angry with himself for having wasted the money. Though, in avoiding the cities of magic, my life was saved. I would know no undeath, and should have lived a quiet life in the dry dust of Westfall. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana. "So... do you want to make this more than a one-time thing?" Esilen smiled, lifting her head up from the railing, looking at the much taller Night Elf with a glimmer of hope in her normally tired, angry eyes. "I.... Sure," replied the elf. "Right, well, you do know that I'm a warlock?" She added. The elf's back now turned to her, she was terribly unsure of the expression on the woman's face, but instead of a lash, she found kindness. But perhaps, also, she created the very first wall between them. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana! Eyes opened slowly to see a dim light creeping through strands of blonde hair. Beneath her was dirt. Red dirt, to be specific. She knew this place, but the name of it could not exactly come to her tongue. In fact, very little was coming to her tongue. She pushed herself up from her face-down position, steadying herself with her pale-fleshed arms. Her hair fell over her face like a mass of wild weeds. She shook her head back once to try and alleviate the problem, to little avail. "Stonetalon," she said, understanding at once where she was. Yet, that was only half of the battle. Who was she? Why was she here? On the ground beneath her, the dirt was unsettled, as if this little circle around her had come as a result of the wind being pushed outward from all sides around her. Hello, Esilen, you teleported. Esilen. Yes. That was her name. She had come here after... after what? It was so hard to think. It felt like she'd been hit so hard that she had fallen apart, like every part of her was screaming that she was unwhole. The pain distracted her so much that she fell again, and finally took in a breath of fresh, mountain air. Breath. She was breathing. Had she forgot how? After a few long moments, Esilen worked herself to her feet, bare and exposed. Looking down, she realized she was completely naked. With a flick of her wrist, she attempted to conjure some clothes, only for nothing to happen. Another flick. Another lack of response. She shook her head. She was close enough to home that she could find one of her old chests stored away in case her house had ever burnt down. If she was without magic, she would need something real to protect herself from whatever was causing this. After a couple of minutes of walking, she found a familiar tree, with a shovel sitting nearby. And so began the long effort of unearthing the supplies. Alleyah probably would have laughed if she knew that Esilen had peppered the area around their home with dozens of caches, but the paranoia of assault was always very real. Except... other than the pain, Esilen felt terribly relaxed at the idea. As if she should laugh at how worried she was at the time. That was so uncharacteristic of her, to feel this way. Relax was simply not a word that was in Esilen's vocabulary, as much as she strove for the feeling. Whatever was going on, she needed to know, and now. Reln Nu Ramani Ar Ravelahn. Abela Mal Am Dakana! And so it was, the weakness was shaved off. Seris sneered as she looked at the ritual circle, realizing that in trusting her other half with the casting, she had also escaped her. While toiling within the dark recesses of their once whole mind, Seris toyed with how many ways she could destroy her other self. Yet, it seemed, she had escaped her. And, as well, taken a number of memories with her. She did not recognize the spell that had been linked into their ritual circle, and thus, could not replicate it. Seris admired herself for thinking that far ahead. They had thought about so little strategy anymore, she was surprised that the two of them had that in themselves. While their vast magical power was renowned, it was their strategic mind that was the true asset to the Legion-- and now, both an asset and an enemy. Still, Seris had worked her own spell into the ritual once they called upon their servants to assist. The five Satyr stood around as one might expect them to, the furry idiots expecting to be compensated for their work. That would come later, perhaps. Without Esilen's compassion, care, or anything so much resembling humanity, she had little desire to reward creatures that were so far beneath her, but she could recognize the merit in doing so. She simply nodded and opened her arms. ______ Esilen stared over the small hill, smiling. With so little of her memories coming to her, she was happy to at least remember this. Her home. Everything she cared for was here. Her favorite novels, her kitchen, Acorn the Hippogryph, Alleyah's treant that she could never remember the name of. And of course, Alleyah-- But she couldn't help but feel there was something important that she was forgetting, just on the edge of her mind. There weren't any crows.
  5. Chapter Nine: Duet Esilen grasped for air, up into the emerald sea that swallowed her. The feeling of flesh burning was all that her sensations told her, but after a moment of staring up at her hand, she remembered that the two were locked in a dream, and in this, they could both manipulate their surroundings. She swam to the surface, only to find herself on land. The Dead Acre. The sky was more black than blue, and far distorted. The howl of a coyote sang through the air as she collected herself. Across from her was her other self, still standing defiant. That black mass had begun to shift and change, resembling the Succubus that Esilen currently knew herself as. "I would have hoped you had the sense to remain in that new prison. We have been floating in the beyond for weeks because of your struggling," the Succubus spoke plainly. A creature like her was not likely to remain unnoticed for long out in the dark. Even in her comatose state, something might come to collect them. Esilen had hoped to crush the personalities in her mind-- I won't be that easy to get rid of. You're the parasite here. She shook her head. Of course, the other her could hear her thoughts. They were both sharing the same head. "Perhaps not, but I refuse to be imprisoned in our memories any longer. You have perverted us for the sake of your degeneracy," Esilen retorted. The Succubus simply smiled and approached her, walking by her as the mindscape shifted from the Dead Acre to a place just as familiar. Here, in Matria's dungeon, where the Succubus had turned great heroes into weapons of the Legion, and slaughtered many more in the name of her twisted science. "What purpose is there in bringing me here?" "Even if you were to find your answers, how could you escape what we've done? Murder on the scale we've committed simply cannot be forgiven." "I will never forgive myself for letting it come to this. I made more than one promise that I would never fall again," Esilen was quick to reply, and even quicker to place a hand on the Succubus's shoulder, changing the scenery once more, to the lake outside her home in Stonetalon. She shoved the representation of her other self away in order to avoid yet another attack, this time from the creature's claws. Surely it had to know that such physical violence wasn't going to do anything any longer, now that they both realized they could simply undo whatever harm the other caused. Still, the battle continued on. _________ Esilen's eyes opened. She was still in control, for now. It had felt like years of battle had gone on in her head, but here she was, but somehow, her body had drifted back to Azeroth, slowly orbiting around the spherical object. Her claws twisted and turned into a spell, and she arrived on the surface, deep in Dustwallow Marsh. Remembering that while her metaphorical self was human, she was still a Succubus and always would be, her shape changed into that of a simple human traveler in brown robes. She began to trek through the marsh, in hopes of finding a road. Once, she was sure, that these roads were far livelier. The war had taken much away from the world, and perhaps nowhere more than the Marsh. Rubbing at her head to ease the cacophony raging inside, she stared up at the tree cover. Another broken promise to Alleyah, yet, the answers she sought were here. Would that she could still visit Theramore to find the exact information she sought. Would that she had not burned her teacher's tomes away and given away her own. The dark magic she sought now would, in theory, end the illness that had plagued her all of her life. These two strong personalities were now very much their own people, and neither Esilen, nor Seris could remove the other. The road took her to the ruins of Theramore, where she skirted around the edge. She had never come here, only ever heard the stories. Some of the outer walls still stood, but to see such a broken, mangled wound in the world-- and not just the world, all possible worlds-- was terrifying. Fear was something Esilen didn't think she could feel anymore, but there were some things that still burned that old flame. Theramore was not the destination, however. Something nearer. If there was anything left of what she needed it would be there. Alcaz Island. (this is barely a chapter, but it's to set up what is to come next)
  6. (We take a regularly scheduled break from Esilen programming to bring you story hooks and updates on my other characters) Interim Three: What it Is to Live Scryer's Tier, Shattrath City The cool wind of a Shattrath night rolled over Kyenni as she sat in a chair overlooking the rest of the city from the Scryer Tier. The city seemed quiet. More quiet than it had ever been. News of war had taken so many away. Even refugees scurried in fear, fear that perhaps Outland would truly be cut off from Azeroth. Who would cling to a broken world, after all? She ran a hand through her hair, the thin red locks offering little solace. She would never return to Azeroth. Though Khadgar had gone, and the city was quiet, there was always more work to be done in Outland, and that work distracted her. Distracted her from the memory of the reason she returned to Shattrath in the first place for. Her apartment was meant for two, and Pandaria took that away from her. She would never forgive the Alliance for such a thing, but she had no fight left in her... _______ Somewhere in the North Seas Shaori had once sought peace in death, but instead, her friendship with the late Goe'dar had given her something else. A ship and a crew to call her own. A purpose for unliving. Even with the conditioning, it was hard to find a reason to go on, but here she was. Donning a fancy hat, barking out orders to the helmsman, and hunting down pirates and other lawbreakers on the open seas in the name of the Horde, this was her true calling. Though, every now and then, she could feel the urge. The urge to feel the burn of the Light on her skin as she carved open the one who wielded it. ______ Somewhere in the North Seas Vergil stared outward at the harsh sea of the frozen north. Though the war was off, old grudges could never truly be forgotten. When the Knight-Lieutenant heard of one Captain Shaori out on the seas, he had to investigate for himself. Somehow he convinced the captain of this vessel to hunt her down, but he had to be sure. He had to be sure that his sister wasn't truly one of the abominations running amok in the world. He had to be sure. ______ Azuremyst Isle To be welcomed back home into the Exodar was a blessing that Senvaan had not expected for his small contributions in keeping people safe on Azuremyst Isle during the invasion of the Legion. Though he had expected to fight Demons, instead, his investigations led him to a small patch of the Nightmare that intended to spread on the Isle. With the help of some allies, they stifled the source of the corruption, but sadly, found no clues as to the lead, but for tales of a Succubus. Still, Senvaan felt that he would not stay long. His repentance was far from over, for all of the souls of the dead still haunted him. Soon he would set out to finish his investigation. ______ Somewhere near a Firelands Portal Mak'fir continued to stare at a newspaper clipping. He hadn't moved from his spot for months, and dust was starting to make a coat over him. He felt as if he could count every second of time. His Fire Hawks had died and lived and died again many times over without his presence. He hoped that they were not running rampant, but Mak'fir could not find the urge to move himself. He continued to stare straight forward at the words: Renault Xavier Dead. His partner in crime, his only good friend left in the world. Though he had retired to his Fire Hawk "farm", the words had kept him from even those duties. Now, he truly was alone. ______ Krasarang Wilds To truly feel alive, one must hold life in their hands. Those words spoken by Ku's master resonated him with now. Against all odds, he had survived the culling of his clan, and the death of his clan's leader, Shan Bu. His machinations in Krasarang had been all for naught. Warlord of nothing but his own puppets now, the old statues and what little bones he could call upon for protection. What was there now, for his people? The Mogu had nothing left. Were they any reasons to even pick up the pieces? Perhaps... Ku lifted his staff from the hillside and trekked forward. He would bring his people back together, and forge a new destiny, not tie himself to an old one. _______ Zul'Drak Amphitheater to Reopen Soon! read the signs sitting all around Crazlowe. The on-and-off proprietor of fights at the Amphitheater of Anguish and one-time Ring of Blood host found himself in yet another bout with depression, laying in his straw bed. Maybe he could open the arena back up again for some bloodshed, but nothing so grand as his last plan. So much for a big "Dark Tournament". That would never have worked out. No time for that during a filler arc. _______ Ashenvale Iriselia knew she shouldn't have come back. Too many debtors after her for her gambling debts. Normally she could have avoided them, but her bodyguard had left her employ. Without any protection, they'd taken her in the night. They sold everything she owned but for some rags. Thankfully, debtors weren't total criminals, and they'd not violated her, but she was still a prisoner. Bound in chains and working off a "sentence" alone in the dark was an awful fate. Her white hair was growing like a gnarled mass, tangling all over and even getting in the way of her sight. She wondered if her bodyguard thought of her at all. The old elf wondered if this was what she deserved, defying fate outside Suramar so many millennia ago. ________ Icecrown Glacier Oozarus had had a long chat with a monk some time ago, where he learned that to hone one's spirit, one must also hone the body and mind. The Ice Ascendant still could not truly grasp what the monk had meant. Pandaren were a mystery to him, with their metaphors and half-talking. He was much too literal a creature. Still, he hoped that he took some of that advice to heart. He had come to Icecrown some months ago to test his skill upon the undead that still walked the land, and here he still was. With no need for rest but for the occasional need to recover body mass, the Ascendant found himself testing his mind and body with eternal combat against the undead hordes. But he still did not feel as if he was taking the monk's lesson to heart. Maybe this would work better if he had one. (I might edit in some more later. I don't know, I felt like writing whatever came to mind).
  7. Chapter Eight: An End to the Cacaphony Esilen was surprised by the eternal quiet of the Beyond. There was a peace out here she had never known could truly exist. Far from the magic and whispers of the Nether, or from the constant sound of life and earth on Azeroth. It almost reminded her of the times she would focus entirely on the hum of a Moonwell, but without even that. There was simply nothing. And that was fine. Before she advanced on her journey to find answers, there was something that needed to end. The curses on her mind, both the ones she was born with and the ones placed upon her by her masters and enemies would need to be purged. With the ultimate quiet of space, came the perfect time to delve into one's mind. It was good that she had paid so much attention to Mirae's work, and had practice on countless victims. Victims she would have to answer for, one day, she was sure. Yet, she made a promise when she left Alleyah to live in Feralas-- that she would leave Azeroth, and find answers. Demons did not truly sleep. Thus, she lulled herself into an artificial one, where the focus of her mind rested within her dreams. A metaphorical landscape where she could deal with the afflictions that so threatened her. She had never dared do so before, but now, she had nothing to lose. In the blackness of her metaphorical dreamscape, lockets drifted by, open with pictures of those dearest to her. Just a handful of souls in the many she had met. There was Nickolas Thorton, her brother. As twisted as she was, but not so unhinged. A man loyal to his family and to his humanity above all else. She admired that about him, that he had places he would not go, however few. Renault Xavier, her greatest rival, and one-time friend. A true match for her, short of challenging the leading magical minds of the world. It was a shame she never truly tested him before she shoved a claw through his chest. Aisa'dora Avestan, her closest and most trusted friend. The one she had trusted to kill her before she ever became so twisted, but whose heart was not steeled enough to do the deed. Esilen clutched these three lockets closely, but more drifted closer. Alleyah Dunewhisper. Words could not describe what she felt for this woman. Someone so far removed from anything she had known that she was an anchor unlike any other to a world Esilen so often found herself detatched from. A worldly old soul that had loved her as much as Esilen loved her in turn. She didn't deserve to hold even the image of her so closely. She had almost killed her. Still, she took it from the air. The other metaphorical objects shifted into her dream-body, and that one alone rested around her neck. Finally, another drifted by, black and green and smokey, not at all resembling the real version of it. A locket with the image of Matria within it. Esilen's devotion to this creature had turned her into this monster. Someone to fill the void when Esilen's afflictions convinced her that Alleyah would betray her. Was it truly love, or only infatuation? Matria's whims carried her like air to other women, and yet Esilen always felt secure that she was at the top. But then, distance always offered her clarity. She pulled the image from the locket and closed her fist around the metaphorical representation of Matria. She would return to Azeroth one day, with the answers she sought. Esilen wondered if Matria would listen to them, so devoted to the Legion as she was-- if there even were any answers to the contrary of the Legion's inevitable swallowing of the cosmos. Feelings this strong could not be denied, but she would not be enslaved to them as she had been before. There were experiments she had left behind that were testament to part of her recognizing this slavery, she realized. Only when she opened her eyes did she realize that she was not truly in control of herself. With that business done, the landscape changed. A familiar room, with a square table. Once there were dozens of voices here, all arguing with one another over everything. Yet, when her body died, so too did many of the voices. With her subsequent death, a dozen more were silenced. Dying left something behind, that was certain. Still, to look at the ones that remained meant that her work was not yet finished, and she would not wait for another death to steal away her purpose. There in those chairs were her enemies. Four chairs yet filled, and an empty one. The one where she would be sitting now, had she not taken control. Four chairs that dictated each action of her life. In the first chair, at the head of the table, sat the most powerful of them all. A mass of blackness with piercing green circles for eyes. When she became a Demon, her soul began to twist, and in this dreamscape, this was how it was represented. The twisted part of her soul that had become the Demon. In truth, that may as well have been most of her soul. To give it a name was to call it Seris, but to give a soul a name was to give one power over it, and this soul did not have any true name. The tiny fragment that remained of Esilen's human self would sit next to it, once upon a time, a helpless little girl with short blonde hair and a tattered brown dress. Yet, she was in charge now, and not at the table. In the chair opposite the empty one, the curse that had been imposed upon her very mind and soul, one that proved impossible to purge after numerous attempts. A sickly fragment of Malfegor still remained within her, and was also responsible for her fall to the Legion. Now that Malfegor was alive again, she was sure she could convince it to leave, to return to its master where it would be rewarded. And as she thought it, so it happened. There was no reason for the curse to exist any longer. There was no prison to hold it. Yet, as Esilen looked to the next seat, the table disappeared. The chairs, the remaining voice, swallowed up in a thick blackness. Still, there stood the Demon. In its arms rested a scythe not unlike the one she had wielded in battle, only as black as the creature holding it. She could not have told the Demon from anything else in the dreamscape were it not for the soft green glow over its outline. It advanced upon her, swinging the mighty scythe with precision Esilen expected. And yet, when she moved to dodge, she found herself slow and clumsy. It slashed across her chest, blood spilling from the wound. A cursory glance down at herself gave her the answer to the question she was about to ask. In this dreamscape, the Demon was now in control, and while Esilen had grown so used to the strength and agility of a Succubus, in here, she had become herself once more. A regular human woman, scarred, slow, and useless without her vast array of magic. An attempt to call upon it led to nothing but useless hand movements. The Demon slowly advanced upon her, its unmoving eyes staring forward, as if she was something beneath the notice of the power that the Demon had consumed. I am what you were meant to be. It reeled its arms back and came forward with a vertical flourish of the deadly scythe. This time, Esilen rolled to the side, the scythe clanging off of the blackness of the "ground". You are only the loose fragments of humanity I could not purge. To fight me is to fight fate. You should have stayed within the memories I locked you within. Fate. Esilen had always followed fate. There was a certain order to the chaos she weaved. Like the Fallen Titan, she had the gall to believe she could be both a creature of order and chaos. No, that isn't right. Esilen sought to use chaos against itself. There was nothing ordered about it, though she had always given respect to fate. Yet, she had always fought against it. Her metaphorical self stood as the Demon turned to strike again. This time, the attack came from the right, the blade passing right through her as if she was a gaseous form. Though surprised, the Demon instead opened a dangerous looking maw, filled with spikes and green flame. Fel magma spewed from it like vomit at Esilen's form and she found herself drowning in it, sinking... sinking... Do you really think you can be saved?
  8. So aren't a lot of characters but their impact on the world can still be felt today.
  9. yeah how dare they join the genocide train of boring npc slaughter with a gimmick boss at the end, because it's not like the differing presence would change the actual outcome of the story regardless lmao also dragons don't have charges anymore lol, the bronzes are the only ones who have taken it upon themselves to continue their work as far as we know in the lore, and even then, their destiny is to become loot pinatas
  10. grant us eyes grant us eyes
  11. Khadgar is fine for AU Draenor. It's all fine. Good pics. If you had to change to everyone's personal preference, we'd have art of every zone.
  12. Roundabout

    Titles

    commander is actually their first name, like shepard
  13. Chapter Seven: Sense of Self [Esilen] At one point or another, I believe I lost my sense of self. Drifting out in the Nether, I believed Esilen was dead. That I was dead. You can't kill a feeling. A name. An idea. Esilen represents an ideal that I still continue to strive for. Peace of mind. I believe I've reached it, in my own little way. Ask me some months ago if I'd enjoy the sight of felfire on the horizon, burning away at the holdings of Highridge, and I'd have probably killed the person asking. In retrospect, it's amazing how one little push sent me spiraling downward. Is it wrong to be self-aware? To know that this was a mistake? Yet, I continue my work. It's all I have. I don't deserve anything else. I sealed my morality away in the deepest, darkest corner I could find. And that's where she'll stay. Esilen had a plan. There were many variables to this plan. She thought she had planned for everything, even the failure of the cultists she'd sent to gather up souls. That was what she got for trusting a Dreadlord to actually accomplish something. Still, she had succeeded in most every regard. Highridge burned, the mage tower's many functions were laden with traps and corrupting influence-- even the mana wraiths Aevelm was so fond of had all been filled with the corrupting influence of the Legion. What she had not planned for, was Renault's return. The activation of the tower was an all-too-familiar sight to her. Long ago, he'd brought it to life to battle her once before. The greatest betrayal she had ever felt. Still, she'd twisted the tower enough that she wasn't worried. Wasn't I? He'd appeared before her. Every muscle in her body tensed. The monument to her hatred was there before her, and rather than annihilate him, she had entertained a conversation. The topic veered to servitude and to sense of self. Again, she had the chance to unleash her full power, to challenge herself once more against the only man who had ever given her any sort of excitement in battle. Yet, she allowed him to leave. She had let uncertainty drive her once before, and Alleyah had killed her for it. She could not have any doubts in what she wanted to do. She knew Renault was back. That changed things, but also made them clearer than ever. Where was I? There was a plan. Wasn't there? Esilen's glowing eyes opened out of the sweet darkness of her mind. Her fingers drifted over the supple flesh of the prisoner in front of her. She wasn't anyone, just a girl she'd captured from Highridge. With her mouth sewn shut and her arms and legs bound, she was little more than a distraction from her thoughts. Her head twitched as she leaned in, breathing in the scent of fools pretending that they matter. Wait, I got distracted again. She lifted her head up, digging her index finger deep into the woman's shoulder. Right through it, actually. She relished the muffled cry of pain from someone who hadn't likely felt a lick of pain or trouble in their lifetime. Though, who was she to know? It didn't matter, really. She had the power. This girl didn't. The plan. Souls. She could feel them pulsating nearby in her little laboratory. Well, it wasn't hers. Did it matter who owned this place? She really ought to find her own place. Drifting to and from Matria's various holdings was beginning to be a bit of a bore. She almost wanted to go home. There will be time for that yet. Remember, the plan? Esilen's head twitched again. She pulled her finger from the girl's pale shoulder in one swift motion. She stuck the finger in her mouth, lapping up at the blood with a flick of her forked-tongue. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan. The souls she'd gathered were meant for a summoning. That was what she told the cultists who had gone to die for her. Maddened sycophants grasping at power they could hardly control themselves. Not fit to summon more than imps. She scowled, as even her inner monologue became distracted. The girl uttered another pained cry. She likely believed the scowl meant Esilen was displeased. Her (currently) black hair fell over her face, hiding away her expression from the helpless prisoner. She had thinking to do. What the souls were really for, was to empower several rods. Not meant for summoning. Of course not. A shrill grunt rang out. Underneath her palm, the girl was attempting to resist, thrashing about against her restraints. A quick slap brought that to an end. Her hands moved to the sweet girl's blonde locks. Blonde? She stared down again. She saw herself. The sight frightened her. She let go and then screamed. When she looked back, the hair was brown. It wasn't her. What had gotten into her? We were fools to think we could escape our own madness, just because we changed our body. The mind travels with the soul. Just a change of venue. Once the rods were empowered, everything would be prepared. She kicked the girl's examination table up, the mechanisms locking into place and keeping her vertical. Blood drifted down the open hole in her shoulder. Her eyes remained open. Esilen was rather happy with that development. She'd had her eyes closed the entire time she had been restraining her, and then some as she sewed her mouth shut. Still, the blood from this girl wasn't magical at all, and that was unfortunate. She shouldn't have gone through the trouble. There were, after all, many more prisoners to go through. "You asked me earlier, what I wanted," she finally spoke. The echo rang out throughout the wide chamber, compounded by the magical reverberation she already laced her voice with. A finger traveled up the center of the woman's naked body, cutting a light line open all the way up, though it wasn't life-threatening. It made the girl squirm. Her eyes closed again, but with a snap of Esilen's fingers, green hands formed above her eyelids and pried them open. The purple fire from a brazier suddenly lit up and showed an image of the Exodar, zooming further and further in... until it found little more than a little staff. The expression on the girl's face was one of confusion. "The answer to your question is..." "Everything." The young woman's body convulsed as Esilen drained the soul from her useless shell. She twirled the little wisp of white around her fingers, before throwing it into the well with the others. She moved to the brazier as her Satyr assistant pulled the corpse free. He would of course, return with another prisoner shortly, but... for now, she examined the old friend she had left behind in the Exodar. The first step to everything. And soon, it would be hers once more. ________________________________________________________________ (( I've added a directory to the first post for a quick guide! ))
  14. Honestly, four people isn't a bad number... A little under optimal but it's better than the alternative of sitting on a ferris wheel of emotes that is most story events.