Monthly Archives: January 2012

Latahlali – Lessons in Dalaran

Latahlali woke slowly as a small beam of sunlight crept across her face.  The blanket was warm and soft, and Raleth’s couch was comfortable.  She had slept in her clothes.

Raleth was not home.  She checked in the study to be sure.  Half of the books had been put away, and it looked like there would be enough space for her to sleep there, after the rest of the books were taken care of.

She still wasn’t entirely sure about staying here, but she had no where else to go.  Andarthir had proved he didn’t care by not coming to find her.  Even after she had returned to Dalaran he did not look for her.  He had said he would, but then he didn’t.  She wiped her eyes.  She hated crying.

Raleth didn’t have much of a beard.  His ears stuck straight up.  He was an odd color, like humans.  Even humans could grow a decent beard.

Vael was right about her parents.  They wouldn’t be very proud of her right now.  They had not been very happy when she came home after only two weeks of sentinel training.  Almost two weeks.  Now she was learning magic and living with a blood elf.  And kissing him.

She filled the bath with hot water.  She found the bubble bath, and sank down into the warm bubbles.  She checked her arm, Vael’s large hand print was still there in deep purple.  It was still sore as well.  She thought briefly about going to see a healer, but dismissed the idea quickly.  She could imagine that conversation.  She wasn’t too eager to tell anyone the story behind it.  She would just wear long-sleeved dresses until it went away.

She washed herself, and stopped to wonder what it would have been like if Andarthir had come to get her.  He could be washing her now.  She smiled at the thought of his wet beard, and frowned immediately after.  He must hate her now.  Did he ever really like her?

She liked Raleth.  It was very clear he liked her as well.  She was doing her best to look beyond his sad, tiny little beard and his ears.  She did like him.  He was sweet.  He just wasn’t very attractive.

She wasn’t sure she should learn magic from him, but her only other option was Ellorian, the other Highborne.  He didn’t seem too eager at first, and had referred to her as a commoner, as if that ancient caste system still existed.  When he finally relented, and agreed to consider taking her on as an apprentice, he had a long list of unreasonable rules.  She couldn’t wake up that early, not every day.  Yet he stated if she were late, even once, he would not teach her any more.  He also said there was to be no looking at his beard.  Whatever that means.  His beard isn’t even that nice.

She got out of the bath and got dressed, choosing one of the dresses that Raleth had left for her.  It was a nice dress.  He really did like her.

She sat down with one of the books that Raleth had shown her last night and began to read.

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Vaelarian – Into the Fortress

Vaelarian Ashclaw crouched in the tall grass over the ridge behind the orc fortress.  He had been watching for sometime now, and it seemed the blood elf had been telling the truth.  The zeppelins here were carrying the reinforcements that had been attacking Stardust Spire.  The blood elf had betrayed his horde, and why?  To find the girl?  What was his interest in her?  How much was that Highborne paying to have her returned to him?

Why had the girl run away in the first place, only to freely choose to return with the blood elf?

He wished he had been able to speak with Latahlali.  He was, initially, very angry to see her.  That old Highborne had promised she would be safe, but there she was sleeping, out in the open, just as orcs were cresting over the ridge to the former camp.  If he hadn’t passed by that way when he did– How could that Highborne had let her into such danger after all the fuss he made about it being unsafe in the first place?  She would have been safer if she had not gone at all.  Vaelarian had moved.  She would have moved with him.

He realized now that it had all been lies.  The Highborne were proving they were still not worthy of being trusted.  The old fool had seen some sort of magic potential in Latahlali, and wanted to teach her.  Magic!  And she had stood there and told him that she wasn’t playing with it, she was learning it, as if there were any difference.

Now she was gone again.  He frowned as he looked down at the orcs.  If he survived this he vowed to show that Highborne just how unsafe Dalaran could be.

He should have finished killing that blood elf.  Maybe he would yet.

Vaelarian slid down the slope behind one of the orcish towers.  No guards were on this side.  There was a path leading down on one side off to one side of the tower.  On the other side, more buildings, and a lot more orcs.  He chose the side with the path to sneak around to the door on the other side.  He hid behind some crates, and waited for a patrol to pass.  He rubbed the spot on his chest where the blood elf’s water elemental had hit him.  It had bruised, not too heavily, but enough.  Vaelarian was certain the elemental had cracked a rib or two.  It felt like it.  After the Spire was safe, he may take a trip to Astranaar for healing before continuing on to Dalaran.  The orcs needed to be stopped first.

Vaelarian was certain the sentinels at the spire knew of the orcs’ reinforcements.  Perhaps they were waiting for their own reinforcements before making their attack.  Vael had written a letter for Avaniel just in case.  Of course, she wouldn’t get it until after he was done here.  The message had been sent anyway.  There was always a chance he might not make it.  The information he got from the blood elf shouldn’t die with him.  If the sentinels didn’t know, they would soon.

The patrol turned and started going back down the path again.  Vaelarian cautiously made his way around to the front of the tower.  The guard by the door stood looking off into the distance.  Vaelarian stayed close to the wall, sneaking up behind the orc.  There would be no magic tricks to save this one.  He grabbed the orc’s head with one arm, simultaneously slashing it’s throat with the blade in his other hand.  He quickly dragged the orc back along the quieter side of the tower, and left the body among the crates there.  He hurried back around and went inside.

More crates littered the inside of the building.  They looked to be weapons crates with newly forged axes.  They had been packed in straw.  Some had been opened and half-emptied already, others had been clumsily stacked against the wall.  There were sacks of grain and some barrels under a ramp that led up.  He carefully opened one of the barrels.  It was water, from what he could tell.  He took a bottle out of his small bag.  Lali had left it in the hollowed tree stump.  He had found it there when he went back to see if she had really gone.  She had.

He uncapped the bottle, and dumped the poison into the water.  He put the lid back on the barrel.

It might not kill them.  There was enough water that it would be diluted quite a bit, but they would, without a doubt, feel ill.  Vael tucked the empty bottle away, and started moving up the ramp.

He heard voices up top, then the noise.  Another zeppelin was coming in.  He reached the top, and hid between some crates, as the orcs worked to secure the zeppelin at the dock.  There were another 20-30 orcs on the zeppelin, all armored.  They went down the ramp.  Vael held his breath as they passed him one by one.  None of them seemed wary enough to notice the elf hiding between the crates.  The orcs that worked the top of the tower were on the zeppelin now, working with the goblin that piloted it.  Vael slipped out of his hiding spot.  The goblin was looking at a map.  One of the orcs was checking the ropes.  His back was turned.  The other orc approached the goblin and was discussing something in grunted phrases.  Vaelarian slipped onto the deck, going straight for the stairs.

Another goblin was there, at the bottom of the stairs.  Vaelarian stepped quietly down the last few steps.  He grabbed the goblin’s hair and pulled her back, at the same time he thrust his sword forward.  She went limp with barely a gasp.  He stuffed her body into a small room off to the side.

The zeppelin started moving.  Vaelarian could see the propeller out the back begin to turn.  He ran to the back and jammed one of his daggers between the gears.  The engine sputtered and stalled.  The Zeppelin continued to drift out over the valley.  One of the orcs from above shouted something in orcish.  Vaelarian hid and waited.  The two orcs came down to inspect.  He slipped back up the stairs as they checked the propeller.  The goblin was checking the engines and with his back turned, was easily dispatched.  Vaelarian left the body slumped over the engines, and began to cut the ropes that tied the balloon to the gondola.

As he sliced them the gondola tipped.  He heard shouts from below and quickened his blade.  He tied one loose rope around his waist as the gondola became increasingly unbalanced.  The last rope on one of the sides snapped as his blade cut through it.  He was thrown up on the side of the balloon, which had now tipped to be the top, the ropes of the other side dangling the gondola below.

Vaelarian sat a top the balloon, and untied the rope from his waist.  It was certain that this zeppelin would be out of service for a while.  What troubled him now was the direction it was traveling, straight towards where the windriders would patrol.  As it drifted over a lake, he closed his eyes and jumped.

The reinforcements had been stopped.

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Ellorian – A Visitor

Ellorian had expected her to show sooner or later.  He had not expected her to take the portal to one of the libraries he frequented.  Thus he was caught a little off guard when the kaldorei woman appeared in the middle of the room.  He had been sitting and reading while enjoying a glass of wine in the company of a couple of friends.  There was no running from her here.  She locked her eyes on him almost immediately and approached the table where he sat.

She immediately accused him of hiding behind the portals so that she couldn’t find him.  He couldn’t deny that was exactly what he was doing.  She insisted on speaking to him in private, even though he flat-out told her he didn’t exceptionally care to.  She grabbed his hand and led him from the library.

They walked to his home nearby.  “Ellorian,”  She said as they walked up the stairs to his apartment, “I know you don’t want to see me.  All I ask is that you listen.”

“I don’t have much choice, do I?”  He sat on his bed, realizing his folly rather quickly as there was space on either side of him.  He twitched an ear.

She smiled.  No, he had no choice at all.  She would have found a way to speak to him no matter what.  She turned to look out the window briefly before sitting in a chair at his desk.  Good, she didn’t choose the bed.  Maybe she wasn’t here to–

“Ellorian, I love you.”

He watched her warily.

“I know I’ve made some mistakes,”  That was an understatement.  “But I hoped you could forgive me.”

His eyebrow shot up.  Perhaps she was crazier than he already thought she was.  He might as well come out and say it, “Are you insane?  How can you expect me to forgive you?  I found out I had children 300 years after the fact.  You left instead of telling me.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  You had plenty of time to come back to tell me, but yet you never did.  And now you have the nerve to come here and say that you love me?  If you loved anyone, no one would have thought you were dead.  You would not have deceived me about the twins, and we might have been able to find ways for me to see them and be part of their lives.”

“I was going to tell you.  I’m sorry Ellorian.  Due to the circumstances, I wasn’t able to come back that last night and–”

“I didn’t even know that would be the last night.  How long did you know that without telling me?”

“Please Ellorian, listen to me.”

“I am listening.  That doesn’t mean I necessarily have to agree with everything you say.”

“I love you.  Please, give me another chance.”

“I loved you.  I loved you up until a few months ago when I found out you were ‘dead’.”  He stood, regarding her with a raised brow.  “When I found out I had children that I didn’t know about, you broke my heart.  I stopped loving you then.”  He frowned as he watched her eyes water.  He looked away.  He would not be subject to a woman’s manipulative tears.  “When I found out you had faked your death, and let your children, our children, believe you were gone…”

“I’m sorry.  I said I was sorry to them too.”

He twitched an ear, still looking away.  “I don’t love you anymore Aerrissa.  Please leave.”

He heard her get out of the chair, and start towards the stairs.  “If you change your mind, I’ll be in Darnassus.  I found a room there near the temple.”  He said nothing to reply to her.  “I love you, and I am sorry.”  She started down the steps.  “Goodbye Ellorian.”

He waited until she was down the stairs and the door shut behind her before whispering, “Goodbye Aerrissa.”

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Latahlali – Return to Ashenvale

Latahlali quickened her pace as she reached the street.  She couldn’t look back now.  She had given up everything to come here to be with him.  Now all she wanted was to go home.  She held back her tears as she hurried to the landing.  There were more people than usual in the streets.  She tried to keep her head low, but at her height, that left her looking at most of them.

He had told her, again, that he liked her.  He still didn’t seem very affectionate.  Was it wrong to want to be held?  He acted like it was, but he said he liked her.  She felt he was stalling by saying that, trying to keep her there longer.  For what?  To prove he could teach her?  That was her best guess now.

She wouldn’t be used like that.

She wiped a stray tear before approaching the gryphon keeper on the landing.  “How much would it be for a ride to Ashenvale?”

He laughed at her.  “Miss, our gryphons won’t fly that far.  You’ll have to fly to a port to take a boat.”

“But I want to get there tonight.”

“Miss, maybe you can find a mage to help you with a portal there.  I will not let one of my gryphons fly that far.”

Lali frowned, and turned back towards the city.  She almost wandered back to Andarthir’s home.  She stopped herself.  Why would she go there?  So he could kiss her just to make her stay?  She felt dirty enough for falling for that once already.  He didn’t want to kiss her.  He only did it to make her stay.

She twitched an ear as another tear escaped and ran down her cheek.  She couldn’t go back there.  She didn’t want to be hurt again.  She started looking for a mage that could give her a portal to somewhere in Ashenvale.

She found one, a human whom had passed through the forest not long ago.  She was in luck that he was able to place the portal fairly close to the southern hills.  She stepped through it.

The ground was soft beneath her feet, and a light rain fell.  It took her a few moments to discern her exact location, but the southern border of hills was not difficult to find.  She looked down.  She was still wearing the purple robe.  She opened her bag, and quickly changed, stuffing the robe in under some of the other things.  Raleth’s book remained on top.

She had read some of it before leaving.  His story was much like the ones she had written about Andarthir, except it wasn’t about Andarthir and her.  It was about Raleth and her.  She frowned as she began to pick her way up through the hills.  A blood elf?  His ears stuck straight up.  She frowned more as she thought of his sad little excuse for a beard.

Of course he would see her like that.  His face came to her chest.

She came upon the location of one of the camps she had kept with her grandfather.  This was the one where they had lived when she had met Andarthir for the first time.  Vael had sent her to Darnassus for some supplies.  She remembered running into the Highborne outside the bank.  His beard.  She would never touch it again.  It was so soft, so perfect.  The tears came now.  She fell to her knees and sobbed.

She should have never accepted that portal home.  She had let him know where she lived.  He returned to see her.

And now she knew it was only to convince her to be his apprentice so he wouldn’t feel like a failure.

Or something.

She dried her eyes and stood.  There was no sign that Vael had returned here.  She continued picking her way through the hills.  She purposely avoided nearing Stardust Spire.  He might be there, but if he was, his stay was never very long.  She didn’t care to make herself subject to the sentinels’ questioning.

She neared the stream leading to the last camp she had kept with Vael.  The last time she had seen him.  She frowned.  He said in his letter that he wasn’t there now.  He didn’t say where exactly he had gone, except it was further south.  She surely was not going any closer to the fighting.

The sky was beginning to lighten.  She looked around the island between the streams.  There was no sign that anyone had ever been there.  She sat where Vael’s tent had been and cried.  “I’m sorry I left.”  She crawled next to the bushes near the tree, and fell asleep on the wet ground.

*****

She awoke in the bright mid-day sun.  A strong arm brutally jerked her to her feet and dragged her along.  “You foolish girl.”  She blinked, struggling to stay on her feet.  “You were safe.  Why did you return?”  The man’s long teal ponytail gave him away.

“Vael, I was looking–.”

He shoved her into the hollowed stump of a tree.  “Stay down.  Be quiet.”  He left her there, vanishing as quickly as he had appeared.  She leaned forward to look out of the stump.  She drew back quickly as an arrow thudded into the ground in front of her.

She huddled back as far as she could and cried.

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Aerrissa – Northrend

Aerrissa pulled her cloak tightly around herself as she stepped onto the docks of the town of Valiance Keep.  The elf in Stormwind had been right.  It was freezing here.  Luckily, the first building off the docks was an inn.  She hurried inside, and took a seat at an empty table near the fireplace.

The fire snapped and crackled as she took a look around the place.  She had heard things were quiet in Northrend now, but the inn seemed busy enough.  She could only imagine how crowded it must have been when the campaign against the Lich King had been in progress.  She glanced around at the other faces.  Most of them were humans.  A dwarf sat near the bar.  A pair of gnomes sat near the door.  She was the only elf.

Aerrissa loosened her grip on her cloak as the heat from the fire began to warm her.  A human girl approached the table she sat at, and asked if she would like anything to eat or drink.  She still had a couple of apples in her bag that she had packed for the trip.  “Just a small honey mead will be fine.”  The woman nodded politely and rushed off to fetch the drink.

Aerrissa watched the fire.  She hoped Ellorian would want to see her.  Things had not gone well in Feathermoon.  She had not been expecting him to show up there.  It would have been better if he hadn’t been so foolish.  He could have waited.  She had to make the trip anyway.

The woman brought the drink to the table.  “Would there be somewhere I could change before I journey further?”  She asked as she handed the woman a few extra coins.

“There’s an empty room upstairs.  You can use that one if you like.”

Aerrissa finished her drink and headed to the room.  She should be able to be in Dalaran later this evening.

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Latahlali – The Sewers of Dalaran

Latahlali sighed and set the basilisk eye wand down on the table next to the book.  The book was still in one piece, but she had not succeeded in levitating it at all.  There had been no progress today.  It was definitely time for a break.

She needed to look for the things Vael wanted too.  It was a good time to take a walk.  She passed the shop she had went into before.  She stopped and looked back.  She did want that sword.  Raleth carried a sword.  She checked her coin purse.  She might have enough.  She turned around and went in the shop.

The sword, luckily, had not been sold.  She had to bargain to be able to afford it, but she wound up with a few silver left over, more than she expected.  She was certain the man was flirting with her, more than he was bargaining.  She didn’t care.  She got a good deal.  She fastened the sword to her belt, and continued on her way.  The few silver might be enough to purchase what Vael had wanted her to pick up, if she could find it.

She hesitated at the grate that had been removed to one side.  The sewers.  Andarthir had told her not to come here, and she had heard that questionable activities took place down there.

But that was exactly why she needed to go.

She followed the passageway down, stepping carefully on the drier ground along the side of the tunnel.  She came to an opening where a building stood before her.  A building?  Down here?  Another tunnel led off to the right.  To the left, a series of tunnels opened up.  She walked across the boarded walkway to the building, and approached the man who seemed to work there.  How could anyone work down here?

“Excuse me.  I was hoping–”

He looked her up and down before interrupting.  “Mage apprentice?”  He grinned.  “Lady, are you lost?”

She frowned.  She had worn her apprentice robe, the one that covered everything below her chin.  “I was just wonder–”

“Hey boys, look at what we got here, a mage apprentice.  She’s a pretty one.”  The man shouted at a group of men at a table.  They all turned to look.

Latahlali’s ears darkened.  “I was looking–”

“Up top boring you?  Come down here for a little excitement, did you?”

“No!  That’s not it at all!  Let me fin–”

One of the others spoke, “She seems like a feisty one.  Just my type.”  He stood and started walking towards her.

She backed up.  He continued walking towards her.  She turned and ran, bolting back the way she came.  She tripped and fell in the sludge at the edge of the tunnel.  She heard them laughing.  She didn’t look back.  She got to her feet and kept running.  She didn’t stop until she got to the street.  She looked down, the front of her robe was covered with sewage.  Her ears darkened as she kept her head down, and headed back to Andarthir’s place.  She only hoped it would wash out.

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Aerrissa – A New Home

Aerrissa walked along the path on the Tradesmen’s Terrace.  Darnassus had not changed much since she had last been there a couple of years ago.  The buildings were the same.  The trees were the same.  The people were…   different.

She stopped and stared as a human rode by on a horse.  He wore a top hat.  He was most definitely one of them.  The worgen.

She had heard of them coming to Darnassus.  She did not know there were such large numbers of them.  She twitched an ear as another rode by.  Hopefully they wouldn’t give the sabers fleas.  She was more worried about what their bites could do, but deferred to the wisdom of those that had allowed them here in the first place.  She prayed to Elune that none of the wild ones snuck through.

In addition to the worgen, there were the mages.  The Highborne had returned, and while many of them had moved on to Dalaran, she had seen a couple here.  From what she understood, Ellorian had gone to Dalaran fairly quickly.  She had heard they had taken on kaldorei apprentices as well.

She looked down at the paper she had in her hands with the address on it, and looked around at the buildings.  She smiled as her eyes settled on one.  She walked up to it.  A woman greeted her.

“You must be Aerrissa?  I received your note that you planned to stop by.  You’ve come to see the room?”

She nodded, and followed the woman upstairs.

“This is it.  We just replaced the dresser.  The latch on the old one would stick sometimes.”

Aerrissa walked into the room.  It was small and cramped, but it did have a nice view of the lake.  She pressed a hand on the bed, as though she were checking the softness of it.  In reality, any bed would be more comfortable than the ground she had been sleeping on for the past years.  The room would be cheap too, far cheaper than an entire apartment.  She wouldn’t need so much space now that her children had all found mates, and had their own homes.  This room would suit her fine.

She turned back to the woman.  “The rent is by the week?”

The woman nodded.

Aerrissa smiled.  “I’ll take it.  I’ll pay the first two weeks now.  I have a short trip to make soon.”

Now with lodging taken care of for a short time she was free to make her trip to Dalaran.  Later that evening she wrote a quick letter to Terivanis, asking him to send her stuff to her new address.

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