Written while listening to "I Believe" as performed by Melissa Hollick (Link)
She slowly shuffled her way around the ring that made up the upper floors of Acherus, looking this way and that with disinterest. It should disgust her, it should make her stomach roll, if not worse, and yet it did nothing to her anymore. Instead of being filled with things that she could not have even summoned up in her nightmares, numerous years had left it as just another place.
Idly dragging her hand across the stone as she went, she allowed her eyes to continue to wander. Her feet came to a rest once she had come across the “Unholy” quarter. The entire place could have been summed up with such a word, yet they delegated it to this one spot in it.
The acolytes were going about the same routine they always were. Skeletons. Ghouls. Geists. Clean up the bits, rinse, and repeat. The Blood Quarter was much the same. Repeating the same routine. Going through self-defense, practicing, repeat. In the Frost Quarter that routine involved, unsurprisingly, freezing things, or avoiding being frozen. It was all as it had been yesterday, and as it would be tomorrow, and it still no longer bothered her.
Making her way upstairs, she could not help but notice that even those whose business revolved. Corvus complained as he had to toll away at his work, or lack thereof at times, despite the fact that many, herself included, would have been satisfied to have work to do. The abominations and other ghoulish servants delegated to managing transactions of the bartering nature stood in their positions waiting for someone to come along to browse their wares, despite the fact that visits to the Ebon Hold were less common these days.
Some continued to train in the combat pit, whether flailing against one of the wooden dummies that would inevitably need repaired by a geist at some point or among each other, though the latter was sometimes done in the Enclave, for a change of scenery, or for fear of drawing unwanted attention she did not know. It did not take much for faction-held beliefs to spill out in the Hold, and she had witnessed such multiple times when she decided to wander. Even in a place dedicated to one cause, that was filled with those from both sides of conflict, it continued on.
Conflict. Another thing she was desensitized to hearing of. Similarly, it was something that had disgusted her but no longer did. It had not taken long to realize that such was just part of the larger world. Disagreement and fighting was part of its culture, yet so was cooperation and assistance. Every time it seemed that conflict could almost destroy, or every time conflict did destroy, it was put to a halt by other means and forced cooperation.
Turning towards the balcony, she noted him, resting as usual against the railing and staring out over the Plaguelands, despite the rain. She frowned slightly, shaking her head. Of all the things in the world, there of course had to be one thing remaining that she couldn’t be numbed towards. There was a small part of her that wanted to focus on how silly he appeared, standing in the rain, but the rest couldn’t help but wonder why.
He blamed himself. Not just for any one thing, but for multiple things. Some of those things had long since been forgiven, or at least that’s what she told herself. That she had forgiven him. Others were things where the blame could not entirely sit on his shoulders, not that it would ever stop him from believing otherwise.
She made her way out onto the balcony, standing next to him. He glanced towards her for a short moment, before his eyes returned to the view below. She gently leaned on him, following his gaze off into the distance, off towards the west.
The western side of the Plaguelands, as she well knew, was nothing like its eastern counterpart. It stood as proof that the land’s wounds, given enough time, could heal. She turned her gaze up at him, noting the smallest of smiles on his face, where before it had been stoic. Allowing herself one as well, she returned to looking at the horizon.