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Nov. 21st, 2008

Aul'Tena Sephimiri

(Story) The Quest

The wind was frosted, cutting to the skin even through her chainmail armor. She slogged through the snow and wet, clasping the hood of her cloak tight around her head. Beside her, keeping close to her in case she stumbled, the great black worg kept pace. Their breath made twin streams of mist in the frigid air as the woman looked ahead at the mountain they ascended.

“Just a little farther, Greywind…”

Her voice was tired, causing the worg to rub up against her leg comfortingly. It would be over soon, he knew. Though the snow and ice clung to them like burrs, neither seemed horribly discomfited by them. There would be time for warmth and creature comforts later. Now was time for…

The worg lifted his nose to the wind, grunting to his partner as his tongue lolled out of his mouth in anticipation. The woman beside him paused, her silver eyes looking at him intently, “Where is it, boy?” She said encouragingly, “Find it! Find it, Greywind!”

With a half-bark the great, black worg bounded off through the snow, headed toward a high ridge, his mistress not two feet behind him. Both woman and elf raced through the howling winds, bounding over snow-locked stone and hill. Almost as one the leapt off a cliff facing, landing with bursts of snow and ice below. Blood raced through them, filling them with the song of the Hunt, making them forget the cold and desolation of this place.

Greywind’s howl of glee reached the Huntress’ ears, and she pulled back her hood as she drew an arrow from her quiver, notching it to her bowstring. She sighted along the shaft, watching as the black worg leapt forward at the unsuspecting ghoul as it shambled across the tundra.

Steady… She told herself, taking careful aim along the arrow. Steady… She waited for Greywind to move the ghoul into a perfect position, giving her a clear shot of its unprotected back. Now!

The arrow sang across the intervening space, cutting the air with a quiet whistle before landing with a dull thud into the ghoul’s back. It ceased its attacks on her lupine companion, turning to face her with its hollow eyes, “Blergh? Raurgggggh!” It bellowed as it charged toward her, Greywind close on it’s heels as he harried it from behind.

She pulled another arrow from her quiver, specially tipped with a dazing powder. Not enough to stop it, but enough to ensure she could get back to range. She fired the arrow, causing the ghoul to cease his charge, making it only stumble forward blindly as it clawed the powder from its face. From behind, Greywind let out a furious howl and once more bit into the ghoul’s thigh, re-capturing its attention. The worg growled maliciously at the shambling undead, biting and clawing at every opportunity until the snow beneath their feet was a sickly red from the creature’s ichor.

The Huntress unleashed a barrage of black-fletched fury, needling the ghoul with a hail of arrows. Ultimately, it pitched forward into the snow, unmoving, as Greywind paced around it restlessly. The worg eyed it with caution, as if he expected the undead to rise again to fight them. The Huntress padded forward, patting the worg’s head, “No more for this one, not today,” she said. Greywind merely licked her hand in response, his tongue warm, wet, and oddly comforting.

She knelt in the red-tinged snow, reaching her hand into the stinking corpse of the ghoul and snapping off a rib bone. She eyed it curiously a moment, evaluating it for her needs. Finding it satisfactory, she stuffed it into a satchel at her back, “One down, nine to go…” she sighed. Rising to her feet, she nodded to Greywind and together they trotted off in search of more undead to slay.

In Northrend, they did not have to search far.

Nov. 12th, 2008

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Current Projects

Project 1: House Ravencrest

I've been slowly building up House Ravencrest into an actual "house" on the Earthen Ring community. It's taken a lot of research and effort to make it a believable transition, but I think it's turning out rather well.

Project 2: Journey

The continuation of a roleplay journey that began some many years ago; the paths of Krolaun the Defiant and Katja Armitanis converge once again.  For better or for worse, whichever the case may be.

Project 3: Tapestry of Fate

An on-going story project that delves into the past history of my main roleplay character on Earthen Ring, Gospel Lightfaith. The story of how she became a paladin and also the subtle nuances of how Fate is oftentimes disguised as coincidence.

Project 4: Prophecy's Child: Cold Winds

Probably my longest-standing Storyline on Earthen Ring, Prophecy's Child revolves around Gospel Lightfaith and can probably be considered an extension of the themes prevalent in "Tapestry". Mostly, however, it is derived from chatlogs and actual roleplayed events, rather than off-the-cuff written fiction like "Taps".

Project 5: Dissolution

The beginnings of a story for my little Draenei Frost Mage, Kirensa Frostweaver, who is young and full of zeal to explore this new land (Azeroth) she finds herself in. There is also the underlying mystery of the paladin that saved her, a person she feels she must find.
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It's been a while!

Oy!

It's been a while since I updated this thing, I really should start doing so more often.  Hopefully, this will prove true.  XD  Doggone flighty-mindedness!  So, keep an eye out, folks... hope is not all lost for this wayward journal!

Feb. 20th, 2008

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Brainstorm on the Horizon?

In the coming days or weeks, I'm going to be brainstorming some new roleplay story ideas, so stay tuned!

Jan. 30th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Journal Entry: "A Change of Priority"

In the still of the night, Gospel sat in Thelsamaar's inn, preparatory to make an excursion to the Badlands; she couldn't sleep with all the restive thoughts in her mind and heart. In an effort to soothe whatever raged within her, she put pen to journal yet again, an infrequently used, but often useful tactic she'd used in times of distress before. Yet, there was no unhappiness in her now, merely many ponderously heavy thoughts.

Quill scratched against parchment as she put her thoughts into written words...


Duty.

I had thought I knew what that was, once upon a time. Yet, now I find my life shifting in priority, where Duty now pales in comparison to one thing, and one thing only--my Dar. Why hast thou so touched the very depths of my being, Darthal Mann? What is there within thee that calls me so irrevocably? Beauty is not beauty, unless thou art with me to share it; my Honor is no Honor at all if it does not win thy winsome smile.

I once put the service of my people above all things, even when I did so love Immortis, I knew Duty would forever separate us. It is not so with thee...for even as I serve, a part of me does it only to see the pride shine within thy devoted eyes. Oh, Light...I sound like a foolish girl!

There is a part of me that knows, there is a Darkness within thee, and perhaps that is what calls my Light to thee. A part of me also knows that this may only be the Prophecy at work. But the heart of me wants so very much to believe this is only Love and naught else.

Perhaps I have not said it to thee yet, dear one...my Dar...but...

I love thee, Darthal Mann, and perhaps someday I shall have the courage to tell thee face-to-face. I know not if I have the courage now, for when last I spoke such words of adoration, the object of my adoration did vanish from my life to be lost...and I cannot lose thee. In my heart-of-hearts, I know...I cannot lose thee, no matter what the cost.



She sits there a moment, poring over the page that has the very words of her heart written so plainly. To her, it seems inadequate so ineloquent with what she truly feels, but for now it must be enough.

Jan. 29th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Storyline: "Dark Protege" (Part 3)

"Dark Protege: Parts 1 & 2"

Darthal's training was progressing well, and Stormwind had once more accepted him into a commission as a paladin, he who had once been exiled. That fate, at least, Gospel had saved him from. His exile had wounded Darthal probably more than he cared to admit, but through Gospel's faith and diligence, he was once more on the side of right.

Gospel walked along the canals of Stormwind, not really paying attention to much of anything, I have succeeded, at least in part, so why is it that I feel this is only the calm before the storm...?

:: Your love for him...you know it is bound to destroy you. You know this. You can feel the Change in him. :: As always, the Other's advice was sound and irrefutable, couched in bitter truths.

Change. It was inevitable, she supposed. There was nothing in the world that did not change. Darthal had changed, there was a pride in him and perhaps some small joy--but now there was fear, as well. Fear of what...? Rejection, perhaps, if others in Stormwind were to know his true origins. Or was it something more...? The excursion to Lordaeron had shown Gospel a wavering in Darthal's faith; a wavering that drew her concern. Determined, as always, Gospel would bolster his faith with her own, if need be. She would not lose him through her own inaction.

:: So, you admit that possibility at last? :: The Other commented dryly.

"That Darthal can still be lost?" she stopped on one of the bridges spanning the canal, "I do not believe so, and never will--but these changes are not ones I anticipated."

Oh, Light... Gospel prayed as she watched the morning sun rise over the battlements of Stormwind, If I do nothing else in this life, let me win this battle..."

Jan. 19th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Subline: "Revelations"

:: So soon... :: As Gospel closed the door of the inn-room Darthal had rented in Menethil Harbor, the Other slithered to life in the recesses of her mind like a roused snake, :: Do you think you are ready? ::

Gospel touched a gauntleted hand to her forehead where Darthal's lips had kissed her, "I am drawn to him, and I can feel him drawn to me; we are like two handfuls of water made one as intended."

The Other was unimpressed, :: You said as much of Immortis, too. ::

Gospel shook her head, unstrapping the armor around her, "What I feel now is so much more than mere girlish fancy. My love for Immortis was youthful infatuation, I have come to terms with that. His great Light blinded me to all else, and his moments of tender regard did flatter me." She carefully removed her armor, setting it carefully into a neat stack in the corner, "I know now, and see, that I was but a passing fancy for him." There. She admitted it, but surprisingly there was no pain, just a detached observation. Darthal's earlier words of truth about her resolve still rang through her soul like a clarion bell. Indeed, it had been only her own resolve and desperation that had kept her clinging to Immortis, but in those last moments in the darkness when she'd finally let him go, there had been little in the way of love.

Once free of her armor, Gospel stretched languidly, her lithe form silhouetted by the moonlight pouring in the window panes. Bathed in moonlight, she stood inher night-darkened room looking out over the empty streets of Menethil. She now bore a bond with Darthal, one which she could not explain; yet it was a bond that was sure and strong, so completely opposite of the uncertain and fragile tie she'd had to Immortis. The bond that had formed between her and Darthal was as strong as purest mithril, but it sang with all the beauty of a single harpstring. There also existed in her a peace that she had never had with Immortis; she felt renewed and could feel the Light strengthened around her, instead of diminished.

The Other swirled in her mind in agitation, its presence suddenly seething, :: You may be as wrong about him as you were about Immortis. ::

She moved away from the window, crossing her arms over her chest as she crossed to her backpack. Carefully, she removed some more comfortable clothes than what she typically wore beneath her armor, "Strange, thou art a fickle conversationalist," she commented to the Other, "Thou who were so opposed to Immortis, and so quick to point out Darthal's interest...now thou doth have doubts of him?"

:: You know the Darkness that exists in him. He is dangerous. :: The Other responded slowly, with great care. :: He may very well destroy you, someday. ::

Gospel changed to a simple hanbok, running a hand through her silvery hair to smooth it out, "If Darthal spells my doom, then I walk to that doom with my eyes wide open. I have been assigned to him, and will do my utmost for him."

:: His Darkness can consume you, turn you from the Light. ::

She crawled up onto the bed, pulling back the coverlets, "There exists a Light in him, that even thou canst not deny. It is to that Light I reach, and it is that Light I endeavour to draw forth. Darthal Mann is not lost to his Darkness, nor shall he ever be as long as I am with him."

The Other growled somewhat menacingly, but said nothing further. For a moment, Gospel knelt upon the bed, frowning slightly. She knew of the Prophecy, of course, but she began to understand that this presence in her mind was more than just her own conscience and doubt. Yet, she could not decide if it served the Light or the Darkness; at times it seemed very caring of her well-being, and at others completely at odd with what made her happy. Who art thou, voice...? she wondered silently, and who doth thou serve? Me, or the Prophecy?

Jan. 18th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Subline: "Shields Up!"

The morning dawned cold and clear, the first hazy rays of sunlight striking across the coverlet as Gospel lay on her side beneath it. She lay there, feeling the coolness of the air upon her cheek and shoulder in contrast to the warmth beneath the sheets. She kept her eyes closed, her pillow still damp from a night's worth of tears, and an aching emptiness echoing hollowly through her heart and soul. She had no more tears to shed, and could find no comfort against the gaping void her final acceptance had created. It's over.

The Other slithered like an oily mass through the deeper recesses of her mind, :: It is better this way... ::

Gospel didn't respond, remaining curled in bed long after she was normally up and around. She lay there disconsolately, eyes closed as she probed the painful vacancy deep within her. By the Light, she hand't anticipated it hurting quite so much, but a small part of her couldn't deny the truth of the Other's statement. Perhaps, yes, it was better this way.


Immortis...

His name no longer brought the old, lancing pain, merely a dull throbbing ache that echoed through her soul like a barren cavern. She had expected something more with her decision to let Immortis go. :: In your heart-of-hearts, Child, you knew it was long since over. Your Light simply could not exist within his. :: The Other made an effort to comfort her, :: It was a falling star, doomed to be brief. His first and only love shall always be Duty; you are too special to be made second to anything or anyone. ::

Gospel opened her eyes slowly, allowing them to acclimate to the morning sunlight. There's no point in lying here wallowing in self-pity. Light! How she wanted to do nothing but forget the world for a while, but her obligation and loyalty to her own Duty called too strongly; she still had a protege that needed her, and needed her guidance. Resolutely, she pushed the coverlets off and got out of bed. She hissed slightly as her bare feet came in contact with the cold floor, but quickly crossed over to where a washing basin stood with a pitcher of water. It was good shock therapy to break her mind loose from its fugue; for once she was back into her routine, habit took over. Soon enough, she was clean, armored, and ready to face the day ahead.

As she strapped her swordbelt around her waist, she took one final probe at the hollowness inside her; no hurt, just a great, gaping void. She nodded to herself, satisfied. As she left the room, slowly, and unconsciously she began to build a cool, defensive wall around herself. She had already suffered a near-mortal wound to her heart once; she would not be so foolish as to permit it to happen again.

Jan. 17th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Subline: "A Moment Alone"

Gospel shut the door of her room at the inn, closing her eyes as she pressed her back against the wood. She tilted her head back until the crown of her head rested against the door, heaving a soft sigh. A moment alone, at last. She leaned there in repose against the door, hearing nothing but the rhythmic beat of her own heart.

Brightest Light...what a fickle and traitorous heart it was! She put her right hand to her forehead, fingers brushing lightly against the silver gossamer of her hairline. Oh, Immortis! She rubbed the heel of her palm against her forehead, between her brows, trying to suppress the tears she could feel stinging the backs of her eyelids. She felt so lost and confused! For all that she loved and cherished Immortis, she felt as if he were moving farther and farther from her. Even the bracelet had gone silent and dim, lending no comfort to her in this, her hour of need. Had she been a fool to give her heart to Immortis so quickly?

:: I tried to warn you he was Untrue. He wants you for a trophy, nothing more; not for love, and certainly not as his equal. You were a beautiful charity that no longer interests him. :: The Other's serpentine darkness slithered like an agitated snake in the back of her mind, speaking into the silence at the mere thought of Immortis, :: I tried to warn you--to spare your heart this anguish. ::

"And I was a foolish girl who did not listen," Gospel said softly, pushing away from the door to cross the room to the bed, "We seemed so right together, his Great Light and mine..." she spoke wistfully, as if her love for Immortis had burned so brightly a lifetime ago, instead of a matter of weeks.

The Other curled sensuously around her mind, bringing shadow where there was light, casting burning lances of truth into the places that hurt most, :: When you place a Great Light near a Lesser, the Lesser is always lost. ::

Touche'. Gospel winced physically at that brutal truth, given in so simple a statement. She sat on the bed numbly, staring at the floor in realization: Immortis would always outshine her...

:: Blessed Light! :: The Other oathed fiercely, whipping around her mind as if blown by a haggard wind, :: Would you stop demeaning yourself? You are beautiful, desirable--so far removed from anyone, that people adore you and you don't even realize it! :: Gospel blinked in stupefaction, but the other continued, :: The world does not begin and end with Immortis. He is not the only man upon this earth who could ever care for you. Are you so blind? ::

Gospel tugged her boots off as she sat on the edge of the bed. She ran a hand over her silvery hair as if trying to soothe that other presence, "What dost thou mean?"

The Other radiated grim amusement, :: You really *are* that blind... ::

The boots joined her armor, which had been neatly stacked in the corner when she'd changed to off-duty clothing earlier, "Not nearly so much as thou wouldst think."

The Other froze in its agitated movements, :: Is that so? I take it you've noticed His regard then? ::

A set of neatly folded clothes joined the armor, and Gospel pulled on a simple woolen dress before stretching out on the bed, laying on her side for her full length, with a sigh, as she tried to relax, "How could I not? He and I seem drawn together as moths to a flame." She lay on her side, staring at the wall, images of her protege's face momentarily ghosting in her vision as The Other recalled her memories of earlier today.

:: Your Light calls to his Darkness, :: The Other pointed out quietly, :: I told you someone else would find you. ::

Gospel closed her eyes against the imagery of Darthal's face, almost angelic when he'd smiled. She rolled onto her back, folding her arms behind her head, staring up at the ceiling she didn't even really see, "I have lived and breathed nothing but Immortis for these past weeks..."

:: You cannot deny that what was between you has faded, Child. Only you strive to keep it alive. ::

Did she? Had she tried hard enough? Or perhaps it wasn't even her at all. Gospel closed her eyes once more as the ceiling began to waver in her vision, "Did he ever really love me?" Or did I only see in him what I wanted?

The Other calmed in her mind, settling like a contented cat, but its voice spoke with gentleness and caring when it commented next, :: Perhaps, in his own fashion,:: it hazarded carefully, :: But he loves Duty more; and that is hardly fair to a treasure such as you. ::

She rolled over onto her stomach, arriving near the edge of the bed. With great slowness, she reached into her backpack which she'd set there when she'd come in earlier, and rummaged to the very bottom of the bag to pull the silver bracelet out into the candlelight. Immortis' name glittered around the Black Azerothian Diamond, but it was a cold shine lacking the warmth it once had, not even warmed by the golden light of the candles around her. For a long time, she held the bracelet in her hand, admiring the intricate dwarven handiwork.

Shall I ever be free again, Immortis? Or am I doomed to remain as thy prisoner of this unrequited love I bear for thee? A bitter sob broke from her unexpectedly, and she dropped the bracelet to the floor as she reached for a nearby pillow. She buried her beautiful face in the softness, stifling the wracking sobs that poured forth from her very heart. She wept for an hour or more, on into the heart of the night; she wept for her heart, her fading love, and for her honor that held her captive.

Freedom, it seemed, would never be hers until she admitted to herself that she and Immortis were finished. Their love had been sweet and pure, like an oasis in the desert; but like many oases in the desert, it turned out to be only a bittersweet mirage.

Oh, Light... Gospel prayed as her tears ebbed, Please, help me find my path again...

Jan. 16th, 2006

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IC // Gospel // Storyline: "Dark Protege"

Gospel sat at a table within the Lakeshire Inn, a slightly wrinkled set of orders held in her hand, as she regarded the seal of Stormwind High Command. She'd been removed from her assignment to Immortis and instead been given a command of her own; a lower level paladin to train. Her luminous green eyes settled on her new protege's name in the official missive. Darthal Mann. She'd had cause to assist him before now, and had found him to be somewhat diminished as a paladin. It was not until after that initial meeting that she discovered the truth about him.

He was a young man who had given himself over to Darkness. Her eyes returned to the order statement--now it was her responsibility to either redeem him, or condemn him. Her feathery eyebrows furrowed as her eyes moved to the silver filigree bracelet upon her right wrist. Part of her wanted to contact Immortis, to ask for his guidance, but another part of her wanted to do this on her own. This was her duty alone, just as Immortis had always put Duty before her.

Darthal Mann. This man would either walk the paths of Light, or fall eternally to Darkness based on her leadership. Her lips tightened in resolution; by the Light, she would not fail him as she had done Immortis.

She tucked the orders into her belt and left the inn, a sense of renewed purpose in her eyes. Yet, even as she stepped out into the sunlight, she paused. With careful deliberation, she slowly removed the silver bracelet from her wrist, and with a resigned blankness, carefully placed it in the bottom of her backpack.

Duty was a harsh mistress to be second to, or so she had told Inaria, it was time Gospel took first place back.

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