Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

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Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:30 am

((Originally posted by Raels.))

-----
Panic.
Searing pain.
No escape.
Explosion.
Screams, terribly loud, horrific screams.
Horrendous explosion.
Impossible pain.
Spiraling darkness.
Fading...
Nothing.
-----



Report

...

Report.

What?

State your name.

What? Where am I? Who are you?

I will not ask again. State your name.

*Raels, always, Raels. When all else is shrouded in a pale haze of confusion, always, Raels. She remembers her name, if never anything else.*

Raels. Where am I? What happened? What's going on?

That is not your name. You are agent 89140. Again, what is your name?

I feel sick, I feel... god! Where is my.. what happened to my body?

*Raels tries to push away the darkness, to look over her body. Every motion feels thick, heavy; she is swimming through soup. A haggard, throaty laugh echoes off the walls, eclipsed only by Raels' sobs.*

Please, help me! I can't move... Gods it hurts so much!

You cannot move because your legs have been torn off, agent 89140. Well, you still have half of one. Pain is only in your mind. We do not feel pain. Remove this from your mind, it is a hindrance. Look.

*Raels cries out as a light appears in front of her. The cry cuts off half way as she stares dumbly at the stump jutting out of her torso. She reaches down to touch it, but finds she has no hands, attached to no forearms, attached to a stub of an elbow. Upon seeing this, every limb explodes in fiery pain. She screams, and screams, and screams, and screams some more. Eventually the screams turn into hoarse coughs, and eventually those coughs turn into silent sobs.*

*Hobbling slowly from the shadows, he throws back his hood, his face a twisted mockery of life. His nose and ears have both been cut off, and his scalp is clean shaven, covered in a crossed web of ritual scars and tattoos. His eyes burn like red coals smoldering in black sockets,but his breath comes in ragged, excited gasps. All the while, he smiles, for it is delicious to hear her pain, to hear her suffering. It is the most delicious sound in the world.*

Enough. We can ease your pain. Listen to us.

*Raels' eyes roll back into her head. She wishes she could pass out, she dreams of a moment without the sharp torment that pierces through her body*

Pain is of the living. Pain is of the weak. Listen to us.

*Raels retreats into her mind. Images flash through; a soft meadow, the gentle breeze over bleached sand, the sweet song of a forest. Suddenly, blinding, searing pain.*

No. Beauty is of the living. Beauty is of the weak. Listen to us.

*Impossibly, the pain grows worse.*

I can't! Help me! Please!

*malicious grin* We will help you, 89140. Listen to us.

*Raels retreats into her mind. Images flash through; cracked, dry earth, a dark storm raging over bleached sand, green bile flowing through trees, hideous laughter as the poisonous sap breaks roots and branches. Suddenly, the pain lessens.*

Someone... please help me.

Who are you speaking to, 89140? Is it not us?

I... my friends will come save me...

And who are your friends, if not us? We have saved you, when no one else would. We have dragged your decimated body, if you can call it that, out of the corpse wagons. We have taught you how to lessen your pain and suffering. Listen, and remember. We do not *have* friends, agent 89140. We have acquaintances and enemies. The living are tools to be used. If useful, then we will continue to employ them. If not...

You... are right. Thank you for saving me. From... what though? What happened to me?

We have saved you from your own foolishness, and in payment, you will serve us. I trust there are no objections?

*Raels begins to moan as the pain creeps back into her body. It grows steadily, a dam bursting within her mind.*

Listen to us. Dust. Bones. Death.

Dust, bones, death...

*the pain lessens*

Pain is of the living. Pain is of the weak.

Pain is of the living... pain is of the weak.

*the pain deadens*

We cannot be destroyed, can never be defeated.

We cannot... be destroyed... can never be defeated.

We are Forsaken.

We are... we are...

We are Forsaken.
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Re: Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:32 am

((Originally posted by Raels.))

Agent 89140, you have returned. Report.

*brimming with excitement, wishing to prolong the moment* I’d like to thank you again for the legs, Sir.

Think nothing of it. You have earned them over the months. * grinning* You look as if you have news. Tell us.

Sir, it worked like a charm! You are very adept at this planning thing.

Enough with the pleasantries, 89140. Tell us… from the beginning.

I posted the sign, Sir, just like you asked. I mentioned the Glory, I mentioned the Treasures, and I made sure to mention that the City would be vacant for some reason or another. Oh, and the thing about the Paladin stuff. That was very… what’s the word, sir?

Brilliant. Inspired. Yes, do go on.

So! We gathered, it was a few of us. Some recognized me. From your notes I was able to piece together who was who, mostly…

Yes yes, tell us of the battle.

It was beautiful. Just as you promised, a full score of Alliance were pulled from their duties to protect the gates. I didn’t quite understand at first how causing a big to-do would actually make the task easier, but it did! It was so easy!

*eyes glinting* Show it to us, show us the door prize of tonight’s extravagant party.

Sir, I am your humble servant. I happily obey. *produces an old tome*

*leafing through the book* I see. And where did you find it?

In the Mage Quarter, I knew it would be there! With everyone at the gates, it was very easy to sneak through the back alleys and subdue the few apprentice scribes –

--and you are sure this is the book? This is the book of notes that Bregdark has toiled over for nine months? The book of notes that contains his most secret of formulas, for the most ferocious plague ever to be imagined?

*swallows* Well, yes, I mean, it was… it was locked up in a special box, and it was warded with traps, and.. and spells.. and…

-and was Bregdark one to fancy drawings of night elves in their skivvies?

*falters* Sir… it was… *tries to dodge a book flying at her face*

You FOOL! You incompetent, miserable, worthless fool!

Sir..?

You must go back! You must rally your allies, you must continue the assault! Find that book!

I um… well, I think most are dead now... and… if not, I kind of, well…

Out with it!

Well, you know, I wanted to be more Forsaken, like you, so I sort of cackled at them and…

And??

- and said, “You FOOLS! You miserable fools! The book is mine!” … I might have thrown in a “Mwa-ha-ha-ha” at the end there too…

*throttling Raels ensues. After some time, when it is obvious she is ignoring the pain.* There is only one course of action left, then.

Sir? I promise I won’t make another mistake. Please tell me.

You must slowly regain the trust of your allies. Beguile them with your charm and wit, and offers of gifts.

My what now?

*rubbing temples* Leave us.

*awkward salute* Sir, yes sir!
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Re: Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:35 am

((Originally posted by Raels.))

Report

It’s fine, I’ll take care of it.

That’s hardly a report, Agent 89140

Well… things could be better, that’s for sure.

Though we already know extensively your failures, you will speak them to us here and now.

*quick sigh* It’s all just so very difficult. I try and try to bring those curs of the Advent into line, to bend their loyalties towards me, but it is a slow process. I travel with them on adventures, I attempt to make small talk, and I answer their questions, but I do not think they trust me with their lives again. Couldn’t we just dig up some new recruits, you know, those who have problems in the cognitional sense? Like Vacant?

Do not confuse being mute with being stupid, Agent 89140. Further, do you honestly think that a score of mindless zombies compare to the ingenuity and experience of even one of the insufferable Umbral Advent?

No… but at least then we wouldn’t have to deal with insurrection…

Insurrection? Intolerable.

Well, that’s what I said…

You misunderstand. It is intolerable that you have allowed those in your order to usurp your authority.

They have such… annoying ideals. I think they would have preferred me to pretend to love them and give them pies and hugs and kisses and to giggle and to make jokes and to -

Enough, it is sickening to even think of a Forsaken acting in such a demeaning manner.

I guess… but… like… um… Morita… and Alanath… and Cylent and Bregdark and Krissle… they’re all Forsaken and they seem to miss what I was. Was I really like that? Is it such a terrible thing to, you know, er, love.. something?

Need you be reminded that those feelings are mortal failings that we are best off without? Imagine if you are torn between completing your objective or returning to save a “loved” one from harm. Even a moment’s worth of hesitation could be disastrous to our cause. Furthermore, it is a sick and vile trait of mortality, which we are well above.

Good points, Sir, you’re so terribly smart. I wish I could remember things so I could be smart like you too.

You need not remember anything, Agent 89140; we wish to save you the embarrassment of the memories of your previous life. Tell us of the Inductionary Hearing of Lacoura.

Oh, her. Like you said, I needed to find more Forsaken to manipulate loyalty from, so that we can go back to Stormwind and get that book thingy. She seemed to fit the bill, since she’s pretty mentally unstable and has memories of me helping her for this and that, I forget. And she will be stronger soon, too, and will have me to thank.

Our time is not unlimited, Agent 89140, cut to the chase.

Right, apologies Sir. Thanks to your helpful notes, I acted out flawlessly during the ceremony. I stood on the outer circle and did the whole trial thing. Unfortunately near the end… things sort of got out of hand. For some reason, and my memory is cloudy, Cylent got upset about some of the things I said. He kept on talking about us not acting like a family anymore. I tried to remind him that we are a fellowship, and that the Forsaken do not have families.

You are a fool. It matters little what he calls your cult of nuisances and slumber parties. He can call it a family, you can call it a fellowship, and others can call it a troop of girl scouts. You argued with him, didn’t you, about rhetoric and semantics, and it cost you an ally.

*looks at feet* But.. but Sir, you’re always correcting me, and telling me how proper Forsaken should act. I was merely doing the same. But then Ashlin…

Tell us.

She… *ponders at the memory* She called me mom… but that was after. She was mad that I was gone for a few weeks. I told her to get back on her circle, so that we could complete the Inductionary Hearing. She said that the real Raels would never be so cruel, and that I wasn’t Raels because I wasn’t offering out pies and that I cut up Lacoura and that I didn’t like having the Advent called a family. Then it got worse.



She and Cylent wouldn’t back down, and then Bregdark sided with them, and Shukir was there, and they were all yelling at me. The good news is Okrth stood by my side and tried to get them to fall in line and listen to me. But they didn’t. I thought they might have killed me on the spot, because they kept saying I was a traitor or a spy. Thankfully Deiter showed up, he injected something into Cylent to make him shut up.

Good, we are glad you are finding Deiter useful. Continue.

I was so furious at the open rebellion. I think I stabbed Cylent and slung him over my shoulder and plopped him down on the circle so that we could complete the ceremony. I thought that you would approve of me displaying my strength and superiority over them.

Indeed? So all worked out in the end then?

Well… not really. Ashlin started screaming at me, and she said something about hating me and took Cylent and they escaped through her portal.

*raises eyebrow* Ashlin fancies herself a mage now? How quaint.

I guess I wasn’t a good teacher if she gave up her roguish tendencies so quickly.

We are curious exactly what you are good for. We have asked you to perform a simple task, that of gaining allies and their trust, so that you may use them when the time comes to redeem yourself of your failed mission. At the gain of one more Forsaken -- one whose mind is weak, shattered, fragile -- you have lost two of your Order.

I… well, it wasn’t a big loss, right? Kaylia said it was akin to the loss of a mangy runt, one whom you no longer needed to clean up after or to throw bones to. Or something like that; she’s more elegant with her words than I could ever be.

Dame Kaylia is correct to some extent, but she is mistaken on one thing. That “mangy dog” has disgraced you in front of all those to take witness of the ceremony. That display of disloyalty must be dealt with, and cannot be shrugged off so easily.

Cylent too? He was quite a nuisance.

Let Deiter take care of him, for Cylent is still quite salvageable… but as for Ashlin…

I guess I could send her a pie or something, to make amends?

You will kill her.

…Sir?

She is a traitor. She is causing dissent within your order. You must stick her in a sack and drown her in a lake, like an unwanted puppy.

I…

We trust there are no objections, Agent 89140?

… no… no, Sir… I will take care of it…

Good. Oh, one more thing. *malicious grin* Tell Emeline that an old friend is coming to visit her.
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Re: Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:35 am

((Originally posted by Lacoura.))

Lacoura lingered in the shadows of the Undercity inn, long after all had gone silent. Mere feet away lay the slumbering form of Raels; or, as she insisted being called now, "Dark Mistress Raels". It was ironic in a way. Here Raels was the master of stealth and shadow, and yet, the spell Lacoura had carefully woven from the single hair she'd plucked during the initiation ceremony rendered her completely undetectable by any of Raels' heightened senses. She was as a shadow herself now, as far as Raels was concerned. She snorted, finding the analogy fitting.She'd endured the ceremony, the torture and agony at Raels' hands, both physical and emotional. And now she lay at Lacoura's feet, helpless as a dreaming lamb… She could end it all now, with the sacrificial kris in her hand. She clutched it tightly, her letters she'd etched into the handle digging into her clammy palm. The sound of stirring elsewhere in the inn reminded her that time was short. There would be no turning back now.Lacoura lowered herself next to Raels' helpless form. Slowly she raised the kris, bringing the blade close… …Then lay it gently down next to the sleeping Raels, patting it lovingly. There. It was done. The blade had been a gift from Raels, ages ago; present to lift her spirits when she was still Vapula's slave, along with a pie. Well, in truth, the knife had been within the pie, along with a note that simply said, "Escape! Oh, and try the pie! It's cherry!" Lacoura looked again at the letters inscribed on the hilt. "HIBERNIA." The words she'd spoken to Raels the day they first met, when Lacoura was blind, sitting in the ashes of Orgrimmar, and Raels had asked for her fortune told. When Raels woke, she would see it, and remember. There was no way she wouldn't. And then things would be like they had been before.Some wisp of dream or perhaps a lingering fly caused Raels to roll over in her sleep, whining softly. A pang of longing lanced into Lacoura's heart; a memory from the past. Of a night spent lying in a shallow grave outside of Brill, contemplating covering herself with earth and staying there for eternity, and Raels comforting her. Then of waking up months later, and finding Raels' cloak covering her for warmth. She reached to the cloak on her back, rubbing the dirty, tattered material between her thumb and forefinger.'The others may not remember… may not know…' she thought, 'But I know you… more than you can imagine, I know you… and I know that you're still here…' Lacoura gently brushed a lock of Raels' matted hair away from her forehead, and began to hum softly, in an ancient language… A language not spoken in any of the cities…. A language only spoken in the wilds by beings of fur and fang… A song that Raels would never hear…Lacoura turned to leave, her eyes wet with tears. Suddenly she was stricken with a pain in her head, visions snapping into her consciousness one after the other. Too soon. Too soon! She collapsed to the ground panting with the exertion, beads of sweat cascading off her brow. But she knew now that she had been wrong. It was not yet time for Raels to come back. There were still things that must be done. And if they were not? She didn't want to think about the consequences the visions had implied. With an anguished look on her face, she gingerly removed the blade and held it close to her chest. Raels rolled over again in her sleep, mumbling something about gnomes and pies, and then was silent. With one last forlorn glance at her sleeping friend, Lacoura returned to her own resting place, and drifted into a fitful sleep.She awoke in the world of dreams, in a vast underground labyrinth. She recognized her surroundings as the sunken temple of Atal'Hakkar, although she had never been to the place. Unbidden she found her legs bearing her down the twisting passages towards some unknown destination. Unknown it was to her, but to whoever was in control of her body, the body she shared with so many other voices, the path was clear and inevitable.She walked as in slow motion, dragonkin and the ancient remains of troll zealots bowing before her as she passed, until she came to a room where blood cascaded down the walls like a vast crimson fall. In the center within a circle of binding stood the avatar of the blood god himself.Hakkar bowed low, as if in reverence, and without preamble, Lacoura plunged her sacrificial kris into his throat. She tore it free, Hakkar's blood dripping from the blade."What do you intend to do with that?" a cold voice demanded. Her head snapped around and suddenly there was Raels. But not the face she had remembered. This one was wicked, hard and hideous, rotting from the inside as well as out. The room had changed as well, suddenly the familiar throne room of Lordaeron where her initiation had taken place."Speak up! Your mistress commands it!" Lacoura merely looked down at the blood soaked blade, ashamed, though... she wasn't sure exactly why.Raels' foot whipped out, catching her in the temple. Unprepared for the blow, Lacoura fell hard, her tailbone snapping. "I ordered you to speak." Raels said coldly, towering menacingly over Lacoura's prostrate form. "Fine then, if you will not use that knife, then I will use mine."Raels straddled Lacoura, pulling her daggers from their home with a ring of steel. No. It was happening again. She couldn't bear it again! But she could not move, could not do anything as Raels began to carve into her, slicing as passionlessly as an old surgeon."Still nothing? If you will not speak, then I will cut the tongue from your head."Raels' blades moved as if in slow motion, but her words came quickly, in abusive curses."Fool!"No…"Worthless!"No."Weakling!""NOOOOOO!!" Lacoura screamed sudden, flicking the blade across Raels' neck. The rotting head fell to the floor with a sickening thud, and spun lazily where it continued to shout epithets, but Lacoura could no longer hear them. She watched in awe as the blood spurting from Raels' neck grew solid, twisting and writhing like snakes, growing like vines until a new head sat in place of the old. This was the Raels she knew. The one she remembered. The one who loved her. The one who understood. The renewed Raels' smiled at her tenderly, and without a word, they embraced.===================================================Lacoura jumped as she awoke, finding a pair of eyes staring back at her. "Krissle," she said, "how long have you been watching over me?""For a while now. I hope you don't mind. The inn is full, and I heard you had a room here. I was just waiting for you to wake so I could take your place.""No, no. I don't mind at all," Lacoura said, trying hard to shake the haunting images of her dream from her head."Oh, congratulations on being accepted into the Advent, by the way.""Thank you," replied Lacoura, images of Raels' sneering face as she cut away, dancing in front of her, "It is… an honor." She pulled herself up by the hand Krissle had offered, leaving the casket vacant."Third one in from the left," Lacoura said pointing, "My favorite. You are welcome to it."Krissle offered her thanks and lay down in the pine box. Lacoura did not think she would be sleeping for a long time to come…
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Re: Umbral Something or Other ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:40 am

((Originally posted by Raels.))

"Report."

"Forgive me sir, it has been four days, thirteen hours since my last conf-"

"Spare us the pomp and give us the circumstance."

Raels fidgeted. She knew he wouldn’t like the news. "Well, sir, I’m making good headway in finding that book I promised you. I can assure you that it’s not in the Stormwind Library, and nowhere near –"

A glass shattered across Raels’ face, eliciting a look of confusion from her otherwise hideous countenance. "Of course it’s not in Stormwind, you fool! Do you not have eyes, ears, and a brain with which to recognize simple facts? Have you not noticed a large influx of undead lately, gathering near the major towns -- the whispers of a name? Absolution. Uthas. Speak with him, for he leads them. Speak with him, for he may have stolen what was rightfully ours. WE should be leading the culled, shambling masses, WE should be heralding a darkness that spreads, that squelches all life, a darkness that brings the capital cities to its knees; for it is WE who are Forsaken!"

Raels scratched her head, her nails picking at scabs. "You think Uthas stole Bregdark’s book of notes and deciphered them to create an unending plague? Keen! I mean, trust in me, sir, I will find out all there is worth knowing on the subject."

"Go, Raels, and do not trouble yourself with another failure."

Raels cowed her head and bent to one knee. "..I will not. I am your faithful-"

"YOU!"

Ashlin relinquished her embrace of shadows. She stood stark-rigid, with an accusing finger jutted towards the man in dark robes.

"Raels, we seem to have a visitor."

With a crooked grin, the Dark Mistress reeled upon Ashlin. "Oh, you. Where have you been? No matter, saved me the effort in tracking you down."

Ashlin ignored her guild mistress and clambered closer to the figure smirking in darkness. "YOU!" she repeated. "You’re the one who did this to her! You’re the one who’s been twisting her all up inside! You… you meany! Jerk! You rotten person!"

"How terribly amusing. At last, some real entertainment." With a flurry of his cloak, the man produced another glass and proceeded to fill it with wine. Taking a seat, then a sip, he finally looked up at the troll storming his way. He nodded to Raels, and simply said, "Begin."

Ashlin froze. She looked behind her, searching for Raels, but saw nothing. Straining her ears, she heard nothing. Breath the shadows she had been taught, for air is too noisy. Any second now, and she knew daggers would be protruding from her back. One, two… Now!

Releasing her hate, her fear, her love, a shimmering explosion of magic erupted from Ashlin, exposing the surprised Raels.

Giving up stealth, Raels slowly closed the distance. "That’s a neat trick, you’ll have to teach me that some time."

"Rae! It’s me, Ashlin! Don’t you remember anything? It’s me!"

A dagger slashed high, another low, both parried by luck and instinct. Ashlin jumped to avoid sweeping feet, then swiveled her body mid-air to avoid another slash. How can that corpse move so fast! Ashlin never understood how rotted limbs could carry such speed and strength. She landed on the balls of her feet and continued to fight defensively. If only she could get her to remember…

"Come on Rae, think! Pies – you used to love them! Thank mud snappers, remember? Thank mud snapp—" Ashlin was cut off as a punch forced all of her air out. She stood gasping for breath as the monster that was her friend continued her assault.

"You are wrong, my pitiful Ashlin. I never liked pies, I have no taste buds, remember?" Raels shrugged with ambivalence as she plunged her heartseeker dagger into Ashlin’s side. "Whoever I was before was simply a manifestation of Bregdark’s ‘happiness’ potions. This who I am, truly. This is Raels." She twisted her dagger as if to prove a point.

Tears streamed down Ashlin’s contorted face. "No, you’re wrong! I knew you before all of that happened! You were, well, not nice, you were something! I mean, you were sort of nice! Not mean like this! You were good! And before Bregdark gave you those potions!"

Raels pasused a moment to consider, absently twisting the knife sticking out of Ashlin’s side. "Really? Ah, ah well, it doesn’t matter. I was still weak, I was pathetic."

Ashlin wrenched herself free, taking Raels’ heartseeker with her. "NO! You weren’t weak -- you were Raels! You were strong with friends who cared for you, friends who would die willingly for you because they loved you!" With a grunt of effort, she tore out the dagger that had wounded her, and held it up to her own heartseeker dagger. "Don’t you remember? You got Kull to make a twin to your dagger, and you gave it to me. I was your student, so stop being so stupid, okay?"

Raels tilted her head and looked at Ashlin, lost in memory. Taking any opportunity she could get, Ashlin quickly bound her gaping wound and hoped the dagger that made a pincushion out of her wasn’t poisoned.

"… Ashlin?"

Ashlin looked up with hopeful, tearstained eyes. "Yeah Rae?"

Raels walked slowly, softly towards Ashlin. "I’m sorry."

Ashlin blinked. "You are?"

"Yes. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I ever lowered myself to tutor such an ungrateful brat."

Ashlin grit her teeth and thought back on their first encounter, that even back when they first met, Raels sought to help her. Gouge one, toss some powder at another’s eyes, and kick the last one in the groin before sprinting to safety. "I’m sorry too, Rae." Ashlin tossed a handful of powder at Raels, disorientating her. While Raels staggered to gather her bearings, Ashlin took both heartseekers and raised them against her once-friend. With a cry of tumultuous emotion, she pierced them as hard as she could into the rotting carcass in front of her.

With a gasp of shock, Raels collapsed forward, her eyes dimmed into death.

Ashlin wheeled to face the figure overlooking the fight between master and student. Striding towards the seated figure, she was taken aback by his careless disregard of her.


Clap. Clap. Clap. "Bravo. That was much more amusing than I could have ever hoped for. But alas, all good things must come to an end."

Icy dread consumed Ashlin as she felt a cold blade creep across her exposed neck. A chilled, bitter voice spoke just inches from her ear. "You should never have crossed me." Ashlin shivered as tendrils of blood leaked down her front, her own blood, my god she actually did it... her head reeled with frenzied confusion, this is not happening, I am not dying…please, Arc, please… "… mom…"

Raels stopped. She dropped her knife full of stolen blood. With a flash, it all came back. A dead rat. Catching mud snappers at a forgotten pool. A lost, frightened girl backed into a corner, proclaiming that no matter what, there was no such thing as an Okrth. It all came back, the pain of seeing her broken and beaten that fateful day, how she was changed forever, and just how much it hurt everyone. Swimming, at Sun Rock. Singing made up songs while visiting goblin machinery. The half-month-long drinking binge at Blackrock. As the memories flooded back into her, so did the blood flow so freely out of her student, her best friend.

Screaming at the top of her lungs, she flew toward her dark master. A sneer etched across his face, but before he could react further, a dozen knife wounds sprouted fountains of vile ichor from his body. Again, and again, and again, more wounds seemed to appear out of nowhere, so fast were her strikes. He attempted to cast forth his black magic against her, but was thwarted. Within moments of it starting, it ended. His body slumped forward; he was dead before he hit the ground.

Clap. Clap. Clap. "Bravo. That was much more amusing than I could have ever hoped for. But alas, all good things must come to an end."

Ashlin splashed some water back at Raels and giggled. "Ha! Well, I’m not as good at jumping along rocks as you are, Rae! Of course I was going to slip one of these times! I’m glad you got a good laugh out at it at least!"

Raels blinked with confusion and looked down at her hands cupped from clapping. After just a moment’s hesitation, she flashed a smile and jumped in after Ashlin. She pulled on her legs and brought Ashlin underwater with her. "Yough ghan’t stay ungherwaghter as longh as I cangh!"

Ashlin screamed out a laugh just before her head plunged underwater. She kicked playfully at the "dead" weight pulling her down, then bonked Raels on the head. Released, she swam to the bank and climbed out dripping wet. She pointed at Raels’ bag and said, "You silly goose! Now look what you did to our picnic!"

Raels frowned at her sopped knapsack. "Oh! Don’t worry, I have three more bags of pies waiting at the inn here! Hee hee hee!"

Clap. Clap. Clap. "Bravo. That was much more amusing than I could have ever hoped for. But alas, all good things must come to an end."

Raels jolted up to her feet. In front of her, Ashlin sneered at the dark figure overlooking the battle between master and student. "Ashlin, don’t!" Thinking fast, Raels added, "Don’t… don’t hurt my master! Come… come and… and face me! Let me see how poor of a teacher I’ve been! Um.. mwahaha?"

Ashlin swiveled and growled at Raels. "You were the best." Ashlin raised her hand and sent forth a jolt of magical energy which pushed Raels off her feet and out of the dank cavern. Slowly getting to her feet, Raels shook her head, trying to clear her clouded mind.

"I don’t know who you are now, you thing, but you aren’t Rae anymore! I hate you!"

She charged. Raels put up her hands in an attempt to plead with Ashlin, but she beserked relentlessly onwards. Just before the twin heartseekers reached her, Raels ducked to the side. Ashlin’s momentum carried her forward, onward, onward, too far and too fast. The ledge -- "ASHLIN!"

The fall over the cliff was lengthy. For half a minute, Raels heard Ashlin’s screams fade into nothingness. Raels fell to her knees, extinguished by the overwhelming hurt of loss.

Clap. Clap. Clap. "Bravo. That was much more amusing than I could have ever hoped for. But alas, all good things must come to an end."

Raels jolted awake, banging her head against the coffin lid. Rubbing her head, she gingerly crept out of the coffin at the Undercity’s Inn. She wasn’t used to seeing so many passing undead, and apparently neither had the Undercity. They seemed to be everywhere, in all the nooks, crowding the bank, the mail box; there was even a line of shambling undead waiting to rest in the few coffins available.

What time was it? What day was it? Feeling her thoughtstone, she winced as Janje spoke loudly to her, "Blessin’ upon yas, Raels! Oooh, oops, righ’, yah don’ like bein’ blessed at no more…"

"Ashlin. Has anyone seen Ashlin? Anyone?"

A myriad of voices spoke to Raels, telling her that none had seen Ashlin in quite some time, and wondered if they should be worried or not.

Raels ignored them all. She walked slowly to her mailbox, pushing through a few seedy looking undead sporting green mohawks.

Inside, a dusty letter waited.


((Found this on my harddrive. *sigh* I wish I was smart enough to save Ashlin's response to this. *wimper*))
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