Meadhbh looked out over the sea around her and sighed. She had everything that she had ever wanted, and yet felt as if she had nothing at all. Quiet surrounded her. The only sound was the lapping of the waves against the boat and the occasional cry of a gull overhead.
She was lonely. Her best friends hadn't been aournd much lately. Gilder had been around even less. She couldn't blame them. Their paths had diverged.
She ran her hand along the railing. Perhaps she just wasn't meant for the peaceful life.
Meadhbh walked down the gangplank and called Dante to her, running a hand along his side where the flames couldn't burn her hands. She called Domneri, who looked even more bored than she usually did, and mounted.
"Come along, gel...there's work to be done."
Meadhbh posted notices and held interviews. She cleaned and oiled the planks and set up tables. She fished, and she bought kegs of her favorite beers and bottles of her favorite liquors, and she stocked the storeroom carefully.
She'd spent her life fighting. It was time to rest, and to do something she'd always wanted to do. Everyone seemed excited, they were getting their costumes together.
The Salty Mouthful Tavern...she'd never thought a boat would be the place she'd open it. She was rather leaning toward a small bar in Aerie Peak, but this had turned out perfectly.
They'd be opening soon.
Meadhbh's pillow was stained with black from her tears. Another puddle, black, oily, and foul-smelling, stained the center rug where she had fallen and vomited, as if ridding herself of some poison in her system. The demon was dead, and what was left of it was leaving her body much the same way as it came.
Meadhbh shook, crying, and curled into a fetal position in her hammock. Her tears were clear now, the perspiration on her brow had lost its black hue. She rubbed at the scars on her arms, she curled up under the blanket and shivered as if unable to get warm.
For hours after it had happened, she could feel the demon inside her, crawling and clawing and trying to regain control.
When it died, she felt its death throes as if they were her own.
She stood, or tried to, on weak legs. She raised a hand to call Gobrot to clean the mess...but then hesitated and let her hand drop without uttering the words and gathered the rug and the pillows herself, throwing them all onto the fire.
Meadhbh was cold and blind and frightened. The thing that had taken over her body wouldn't even let her see from her own eyes...but she could hear, and she could feel.
She heard the creature spouting cruel words to those she loved, she felt it push them away when they touched her, heard them cry out her name in puzzlement, heard them believe that it was her doing this.
She shrank into herself. They all thought it was her, they all thought she was doing this to them. They thought she intended to hurt them.
It tried to seduce Auric, to enslave him. He fought, thank the gods, he fought it. Meadhbh did not want to see him corrupted, see him among the satyrs in the demon wood. But he thought it was her doing...he blamed her...she shrank back further.
She began to lose herself. She began to give herself over, to let go, to die. The demon began to gain full control.
Then she heard Gilder. He sounded angry and hurt...she wanted to reach out to him, but it wouldn't let her. She heard it threaten him, heard it belittle him, and she called out his name. Her words made it to her lips, however weakly.
It threatened him again, and this time with force. Meadhbh could feel him, he was standing close. Too close, she wanted to push him away, out of harm, force him to go somewhere safe, where it couldn't get him.
The demon called her Infernal to her, sent it to attack. Meadhbh screamed from the place where she was trapped, she resisted, she fought. She could not let it kill Gilder.
The demon began to lose control, and as it lost control of the body it inhabited the Infernal broke its bindings and turned upon it. It fought, though Meadhbh tried to stop it, tried to force her arms to lay passive and accept their fate.
In its haste to stop the creature it had called, the demon used every ounce of strength it had, and when the Infernal lay dead at it's feet, it was Meadhbh who looked out at the world for the first time since she'd set out to free her father.
She reached for the man before her, but it was fear and resentment she saw in his eyes as he backed away from her. Collapsing to the ground, she buried her face in her hands and wept.
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." --Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
The creature looked around at the humans in front of her, using the information she gleaned from her host's reactions to them, using her host's memories.
They were weak, these pitiful mortal meatbags. They were slaves to their emotions. They hesitated where they should charge forward, and ran into danger where they should flee.
All the time, they asked: "Is it right, is it wrong, should I do this, is this good, is this evil?"
This made them weak. This made them susceptible.
The paladin she would stay away from. He knew her host, had known her, better than the others, he would know. Even with the distance that seemed to have formed between him and her host, he would know, and he would expel her...and she liked this body she had found.
Besides, paladins gave her the creeps.
The gnome was too smart. Gnomes generally were. She was distracted, however, and not something to worry over. Likewise for the hunter, she might suspect something, but would likely do nothing.
Her host cared for the rogue, but the rogue would not be the sort to bend to her seduction, and was not around long enough to suspect. The rogue was of no consequence.
But the last...the beast-man...he could be used. His alcoholism would weaken his will, so that she could bend him to her wishes. He would make an excellent satyr, but not just yet. She liked to play with her prey first...and she needed a new minion.
The creature assessed those around her, and the creature planned.
Meadhbh rolled out of her hammock and fell to her knees, the dirt floor beneath her still stained the colour of rust. The worst of her wounds, those on her back and shoulders, cracked open and began to bleed again. She'd curled into a fetal position to protect herself from their blows. It had worked, somewhat. She had managed to avoid a vital wound, but they had broken something inside her nonetheless. She moved more like a wounded animal than a human being, crawling across the floor.|
Struggling, she pulled out a piece of parchment and her quill, writing furiously, her face blank and emotionless despite what she wrote.
She tucked the document into Salazar's basket, running her hand over his smooth head and then pulling out the smooth violet stone he had curled himself around.
It was time...and it wouldn't take her a coven of five this time. She would be enough. Somewhere in the between-space she'd been in for the last night she realized just what the ritual required. It needed a sacrifice, and she knew then that her blood would just have to be enough. She'd endanger no one else.
She swam to the cave, still naked, the salt water stinging her and forcing her into wakefulness. She walked, straight and unstumbling, even as every muscle screamed in pain, down to the deepest part of the cavern. The circle she'd drawn remained, the lines still glowing a faint purple. Stepping inside, she placed the stone in a small recess on the stone altar, before the pair of knives. One was unassuming and utilitarian, the handle on it white, the blade gleaming in the scant light. The other was much more sinister, its curving blade carved from obsidian, the runes engraved on its hilt taking on the same purple glint as the circle and the stone.
It was the dark knife that she lifted, holding her left arm over the altar and making a single, deep, straight cut from her wrist to her elbow, following the vein. Lifting the other arm, she did the same, holding them over the altar and chanting as her blood ran free, as her head began to swim.
Raising the knife over her head, its blade glistening, she plunged it into the stone, sliding it into the crystal as if it were soft as flesh. The light from inside spilled out around the blade in a flood, bright and violet and pure, beaming out toward the ceiling.
Even as the light broke free, the blackest smoke spilled out of the stone and over the altar, sinking to the ground and curling around Meadhbh's ankles. It appeared as if the shadows themselves had come alive, and crawled up Meadhbh's body, invading where it could. Her open wounds, her femininity, her mouth, her nostrils, all became gateways to the invading force, even as the light collected itself and tried to attack.
When Meadhbh opened her eyes, the light was long gone. The cave was dark, and that darkness was reflected in her eyes. They gleamed black and inhuman; no pupil or iris or cornea existed, they were nothing but a pair of holes behind which sat an abyss.
Meadhbh stood, her wounds closed, and smiled. It was a cruel smile, which twisted her full lips and exposed sharp teeth behind them. The creature that had taken her looked around with her new eyes, and then threw her head back and laughed.
|» Collateral Damage|
This war is not my war. I am no soldier, and I owe allegiance to no crown. I prefer not to see others as enemies simply because they are different from myself. Though often my friendly overtures are met with hostility, I do not give up.|
I'd rather greet someone with a smile and a wave than a curse. Perhaps, in a kill or be killed world such as this, that makes me foolish. Perhaps not, as those who choose to attack me generally end up kneeling or unconscious. A few...never rise again.
It was heartening, last night, to be greeted as a friend by a handful of Horde...to have them ride up and salute me rather than attempting to bury a blade or an arrow between my ribs.
Cearae misses her foster family. I have to tell her that they are not here...to remain far away from those places she knows so well...that the horde will kill her if they see her there no matter what language she speaks.
I know the truth of it...but I would love to see her accepted by both sides. As it stands now, she is accepted by neither.
If we could put aside our differences for a short while and work together, we might actually be able to do something about those things which are a true threat to this world.
((Going into third person pov here for a moment, because it feels more appropriate))|
Meadhbh woke up on the soft rug, smiling softly. The clean, salty smell of the sea drifted into the tent on the breeze, ruffling her hair slightly. She moved carefully, disentangling herself from Gilder's arms and pressing a soft kiss to his forehead.
She took a deep breath and walked out of the tent, looking over her small retreat with some satisfaction. It had been hard to find, and it was hard to get to...but then, those were two of the main selling points. It was unlikely that she would be found here, unless she wanted to be found.
Gulls ducked and played in the wind over her head, and she leaned on the fence around the small garden. She could live here...a hermit away from the world. The garden and the sea would provide all the food she could need. It was easily the best fishing she'd ever seen. And there would be no conflict, no fighting, no war...it couldn't reach here, not this far from civilization.
Meadhbh sighed softly, glancing back at the sleeping form on the floor of the tent. They could be safe here. The prospect was almost too desirable. She knew she couldn't do it. She couldn't leave her friends, or Ceara, and she had unfinished business to take care of with her parents.
One day, perhaps, if the war ever ended. One day she may be able to retire here, to her little home by the sea. Perhaps with Gilder by her side, if he'd put up with her that long.
She'd been looking for a home for so long...ever since she left the cottage in the woods so long ago. This place...this place was home.
|» The Key|
I finally managed to get in touch with Gakin. Apparently he knew of my quest, and I'm more than a little displeased at whoever told him, but I'll leave it be. After all, he gave me the key that I needed.|
The ritual is correct, but instead of a coven of five warlocks, it should be performed by myself and four of the people I love most.
I almost hate to ask them to involve themselves in such an endeavor. I think the danger will be minimal, and mostly directed at me, but they are almost to the last servants of the light. How can I ask them to assist me in bringing a demon of my father's power into this realm? Even if it is for the purpose of saving him?
I...don't know what to do. It will be another few weeks before I can attempt the ritual again. I suppose I have some time to decide.
A torn sheet of paper is tucked into the book with the heading "Ritual Assistants" and the following written below in Meadhbh's slashing, angular print:
Drayth Veerloren Where is he?
Cearae inean Dhommnail No. Elentarie Elbereth Maybe? If there's a babysitter.
Aiedail Dhommnail/Nicneven Erstwhile Not Mum.
Scathatch Nantosuelta It's too dangerous
|» I found it!|
It's a ritual. it requires a full coven, but it will bring him to me. If it works, I should be able to reunite soul with man.|
I'll have to contact people who can help me. I don't know who I can trust with something like this. There are so few warlocks, even now, who are trustworthy.
I have to do it.
I remembered, this morning, that Annalysse had once told me of something she'd read in the Cathedral library, a way to save those who'd given their souls...|
I think I'll try to see if someone there is willing to help me, though I dread the attempt...
The bastard. I hate self-righteous holy-rollers, I really do. I often wonder how my mum...or Gilder...could stand it.
I got what I needed, though, I hope. He gave me a stack of books. Maybe one of them holds the key for what I need to save my father.
|» On Fathers...|
Gakin still refuses to see me. I don't know what more I can offer him in exchange for his assistance--or rather, I do, but am unwilling to offer it. Perhaps three or four months ago, I'd have thought nothing of it, a bargainning chip that I've always had available to me, but even that belongs to another now.|
Gilder has become even more important to me than this quest to save my parents. Does that make me a horrible daughter? I think Gilder would please my father. I would like for them to meet, one day, if it ever becomes possible.
I think that Father is proud of me, even if I have almost abandoned him to the nethers. Though with him, it was always difficult to tell. From him, a lack of insult is as good as the highest praise from another...
Is it strange that I would miss such a man? He was never so cold to myself or mum as he was to others, but he was never particularly warm, either. Yet, there's not a day that goes by that I do not miss him: his biting wit, his sarcasm, his ability to lacerate people with his tongue more effectively than any sword has ever done.
The older I get, the more like him I become, and the more I want to ask him what I am to do with these...abilities that came to me with his blood.
What happens, when I go too far?
((This goes hand-in-hand with the storyline intro "The Ties that Bind" on the Farstriders Guild Website.))
|» New friends, and attacks of trolls and nerves.|
Gilder has met the most interesting young priestess by the name of Naysevereth in Redridge, and we spent a good portion of our evening talking in Lakeshire. She had to go away for a bit, and left Gilder and I alone. We sat on the cliff overlooking the village for a bit, enjoying the quiet. I was working up the courage to tell Gilder how I feel, when suddenly we were attacked from behind by a voodoun priestess of greater skill than either of us.|
I was caught unprepared, in naught but my city clothes and no staff at hand, but when I returned to consciousness, I hurried into my work robes and headed after the blue bitch that had interrupted our date. When I found her, she was terrorizing a young paladin, but I jumped off of Dante and sent Khaaz after her almost immediately, silencing her attack. Khaaz afforded me some protection from her spells, and her attempts to frighten me went unheeded. I killed her before she was able to cast more than a single spell, despite her superior abilities.
Since our peace had been interrupted, Gilder and I then made our way to Loch Modan, where we found a quiet spot just off the waterfall (it is a rather slippery and dangerous climb down, but I kept Gilder's soul in my pocket to protect him). He was complaining of soreness from the troll's attack, so I sat behind him and massaged his shoulders for a bit. Strangely enough, we ended up on the subject of Corvis.
Gilder's lack of jealousy on that front never ceases to amaze me, but finally I was able to tell him my own feelings on the matter. He was rather shocked at my surprise that he shared them, being under the belief all this time that I'd known how he felt.
I fell asleep there on the waterfall. I think he probably left once I slept, as he wasn't sleepy at all, but I don't mind...it was a nice end to the evening.
I went on a fishing tript tonight with a few friends, it had been planned by Mavra as a way to relax. It has rather become my preferred method of relaxation, when I need to get away for a little while.|
Afterward, Corvis and I went to the top of the Colossus and talked for a very long time. It seems like forever since we've done so. I don't think I realized how much I missed it. I'd been concentrating for so long on what I couldn't have, I forgot what I did have. He really is the most wonderful friend a girl could ever ask for.
( Read more...Collapse )
|» Farstriders Slumber Party|
The party was a success, though in our game of hide and seek the Farstriders proved to be better hiders than seekers, and we had to call the game off early. Spin the Bottle was fun, however, mainly due to the many rather uncomfortable matches it made, the funniest of which was the kiss between Auric and Corvis. The pair are excellent actors, and the witnessing of it had more than a few of us girls rather flustered.|
I was pleased with most of my matches, for I got to kiss dear Skyei and Caileigh (I'd have liked to kiss her a bit more thoroughly than I did, to be honest), and Corvis (who left me a bit overwhelmed).
Though it was fun, watching everyone leave afterwards with their respective dates left me feeling a tad lonely, and the kisses perhaps worsened that more than they helped. Gilder's been away lately, though with a good reason, and I know Lowan's with him, so he is safe. I miss the both of them rather badly. Others have offered their companionship, but I have refused them when I would not have done so before.
Over the years, if I've learned nothing else, I've learned that it is extremely rare to find a friend who you can feel completely comfortable with. I've been lucky. I have friends that I can be myself with, that I can trust completely. I never thought that I'd be able to find as much in a lover. Too many are either attracted to, or put off by, my past. In either case, they never see me as anything more than a whore. Others expect things that I am unwilling to give. They want to control me, or worse, they want me to make every decision for them.|
I don't want to fall for anyone right now. My heart has not yet healed, do I really want to risk it again so soon?
Can I even pretend that I have a choice in the matter? It's already too late. Just because I'm afraid to say the words doesn't mean it's not there.
I honestly don't think I've ever experienced such happiness before. So what if it's not the man who haunted my dreams for so long? I'm not even sure I'd want him anymore, beyond the occasional moment of lust. I don't think he could make me feel so at peace with everything as I do now. Even with the one who knows me better than anyone, it's never felt this comfortable, this right.
Rosa once told me that one should never practice caution in love, to never let fear get in the way, but I always have. I've only allowed myself to love once, from afar, and when I finally admitted my affection it only brought about heartbreak.
Maybe it's time I threw caution to the wind.
|» Return to the Deadmines|
It never ceases to amaze me when, no matter how many times I put down a villain, he will always return to trouble the world yet again. I assisted young Gilder in collecting his bounty on Edwin Van Cleef last night. In the age-old tradition of pirates, a new leader has taken the infamous name of the last as his own and stepped forward to lead the ever-present bandit gang, the Defias.|
Domneri had her way with them, and it was somewhat sad to watch so many fall so easily beneath her whip. She has grown strong, and a bit too independent and impetuous, but then I have never treated her as a slave.
Gilder looked...well, I had missed him sorely this last week. To my eyes he'd have looked marvelous in anything he wore. It was hard to leave him, though we were both weary of the fight and wanted to make our way to our own homes. My hammock seems incredibly empty sometimes, when there is someone I'd like to have beside me.
I did, however, remember to ask him to the Faire. He very nearly turned me into a babbling schoolgirl...you'd think I'd never asked someone on a date, much less made profit of my skill at seduction...
He will be going with me...and he may go to the Haunt tomorrow night. If Blackstone still insists that the Haunt is stealing customers and should be shut down (thought the customers of the Haunt would never go to the sort of tavern Blackstone runs), I expect we shall have a difficult time of it tonight. Blackstone has a monopoly as it is, and it's time they had some competition. Not everyone likes to live by their foolish rules.
I, for one, only want a little companionship.
|» Home Sweet Home|
I've begun the trek north, to the forests where I grew up before my parents disappeared. I left long before the plague came, and returning to see my home, dying as it is, tears at my heart. I do not know if the cabin where I grew up still stands, or if it ever stood here, on this side of the nether...I'm afraid to seek it out. |
Everything here is dead, and yet still walks. It is almost a relief to put the poor creatures out of their misery. Unlike my mother, they do not know themselves and only seek to destroy the living with a mindless, unexplainable violence. But I cannot exactly count my mother as one of the lucky ones. She wishes nothing more than to return to the earth, and yet she persists.
I will be glad to return to Stormwind tonight.
|» Farstriders Spring Fling|
The party was a rousing success, though I don't think the same can be said of the more personal endeavors of my friends and I. I've rarely seen such a large crowd in one place, and it was quite often far too loud to carry on a decent conversation without some confusion.|
Skyei looked wonderful in my black dress, I'm rather of a mind to let her keep it. Shalinda was quite beautiful as well, though she took it upon herself to change clothes several times...each outfit looked marvelous. I wish I could convince her of it, though...unfortunately I think I did more harm than good on that front. I am aware that she wishes more than companionship from me, but...perhaps it is selfishness...I don't share well. And I do not think she would be happy to leave her little family for me.
More and more I think about it...and things certain others have mentioned sound better and better. The idea of one person to care for above all others. When I've divided my heart between several lovers, things became difficult...confused and complicated. Even in the idyllic beauty that there was with Moony and Cyna things were difficult. I can't do that anymore.
I want just one...and right now I think I'd rather that one be Gilder.
I've very nearly regained the power I once had before my trip through the nether stripped it from me. Last night, with the aid of a quite large group of friends, I went searching for the items that would allow me to summon Rocky to my aid again. It was nice to have him at my side once more, as dangerous as he may be.|
I still wonder, sometimes, if it is possible to restore a soul once it has been lost. Perhaps with it, Rocky would not turn against me and my father...Perhaps my father could be whole once more.
Lowan's planning a party for Sunday. I need to find something nice to wear, as I'm loaning Skyei my best dress. I may well give it to her, that dress has too many memories attached to it that I'd rather forget...though those memories do not pain me now as they once did.
I wonder if Gilder will come to the party. I know that Lowan will be busy with hosting, and if all goes well for Corvis, he will be busy with Skyei. Perhaps I will go stag with Ms. Excelsior, if she doesn't choose to bring one of her lovely little goblin girls with her.