Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ghosts (Part 14)

If Nadia could use the Force, the first thing she would have done was convince the Dathomirian to keep her mouth shut about everything that had just happened. Then she would have made herself forget everything about it, and the entire matter would have never been spoken of again. But she did have access to the same 'magic' that the witch did, so as they both sat there in the ship's cockpit, all she could do was stare straight at one of the consoles and hope nothing too terrible was aired.

But the entire time she had sat there, the witch had done much the same. Andrews had asked them what had changed in their schedule, and Nadia had managed to mutter something about convincing one of the guards to alter the launch patterns. That story proved to hold true when they weren't stopped by a turret on their way off-world. Now he was sitting there, looking between them as the ship made its way through hyperspace. Waiting.

Waiting for one of them to slip with what had really just happened. But she wasn't going to do that. Imperial training would have helped her withstand weeks of interrogation. This was no matter in the slightest. She could sit here for days without breaking. The witch, on the other hand, was far more likely to spill any proverbial beans.

Except she didn't. Even after they had been sitting there for something like an hour, the witch had never taken her gaze off of her. What exactly the woman was trying to discern with those yellow eyes, she couldn't say. All she could say was that all of the possibilities terrified her.

There was the possibility that she was just going to say something right here, right now. That meant that everything got aired now, which wasn't terrible. Most people in the Rebellion weren't exactly aware of her background, but at present it didn't feel like enough to sink her reputation too much. She had never hidden her accent, and thus most people had managed to guess her roots. Another thing that could happen was that the witch waited, and opted to kill her or worse when the time proved right. The latter was obviously much more terrifying.

Letting out a cough, Andrews broke the silence, "Anyone want to say anything?"

"No," Gwynara said flatly, leaning back in her chair with her arms crossing, "Not to you."

The man sighed, turning to look at Nadia, who just shook her head. Tossing his hands in the air, the man stood, making for the door, "Air whatever the hell you two need to air then. 'Fore we all suffocate under how thick the stinkin' air is." With that, the door opened, he walked through it, and shut behind it.

Those remaining the cockpit shared a glance, before settling into an odd silence. Neither appeared to be the one who wanted to say the first though, though she had come to expect as much from the woman. The witch wasn't one for words. Why would that change now?

With a sigh of her own, Nadia leaned forward, "I did not intend for that to go as it did."

Gwynara's head shifted to the side, her short bangs falling in that direction, "Did you know he was on this world?"

She bit her tongue. Of course she had known. She was meant to have a firm understanding of the Imperial situation on those worlds where the Rebellion operated out here, so of course she knew who was in charge. The fact that that was so obvious convinced her that there was no point in lying on the matter, "Yes."

"Yet you came here regardless."

"I did," Nadia said, almost to herself. She had. She had known, and still she was here.

"Was it for your own revenge?"

That stopped her current train of thought. Of all the reasons she had allowed herself to be carted about throughout the galaxy, revenge hadn't necessarily been the top of her mental checklist. Spite, perhaps, but not vengeance. She hadn't left home to get even, she had left home because she could no longer stomach her work.

"No," she finally said, "It wasn't."

It was the truth. Or at least the truth as far as she could see it. No piece of her that she could think of wanted to bring harm to her sibling, not that that had prevented her from making sure that she had done just that. At this point it was collateral damage. Acceptable according to her own parameters. Which on its own was somewhat mortifying.

"Does it bother you?" Gwynara murmured, leaning forward to focus on the other woman's face. Nadia half expected the mental probing she had read Force users were capable of, but felt nothing of the sort. For the time being, they were just talking, as anyone else did.

"It does."

She took in a breath. The pale woman sat there, staring her over. Like her eyes could see past anything she tried to throughout that might be false. After a moment, she nodded approvingly, awkwardly resting a hand on Nadia's knee, "It is hard to face family. That you fight against them even still is honorable."

Nadia frowned, but before she could probe into the statement, the Dathomirian stood, and made her own way out the door. Letting out a long sigh, Nadia slumped back in the chair, staring up at the ceiling. She wasn't wrong. These things were hard. And she had the feeling that monitoring Imperial channels was only going to be harder for the next few weeks, depending on how harshly Gideon was punished.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 9)

Regardless of the time that Florence Starseer had spent with her most recent subject, she could never entirely grasp a single thing about them. Her assistant was much the same. They had made numerous visits to this particular cell, and had never really left knowing much more than they had coming in. It didn't matter how much they poked or prodded, they got nothing in regards to the elf's orders, her loyalties, or where she even came from. Perhaps worst of all, they had yet to even determine what the elf was.

Because, obvious a statement as it might be, the elf wasn't at all normal. It wasn't just the yammer, and the chattering she did with herself. That was the least of their concerns. It was the fact that nothing ever seemed to phase her. The glow in her eye. The fact that nothing they did to her ever seemed to stick. The woman never seemed to need to sleep, or eat, or drink. Any wounds were soon healed, but it was obvious that this woman was no druid, and she had no connection to the Light.

Whatever she was felt unholy, and Florence was here to confirm those suspicions on such matters. Except now she was having the problem of someone being too cooperative. Today the elf had feel like talking, and it unsettled her. Everything about their little session so far had unsettled her.

Their guest was composed, at least by the standards of what they had come to expect. She sat straight up, green hair appearing to have been straightened out. Her hands were clasped together, and the look on her face was one of someone serious about whatever they were meant to be talking about. It was as if they were talking to someone else entirely.

"Shall we go through the usual questions," Florence said smoothly, pressing the tip of the dagger she had brought today into the table, spinning the hilt with the tip of her finger.

"Elena Wiltmend, no affiliated, no orders," the elf said.

Florence blinked, leaning forward somewhat, "Name, order, and commands, then."

"Yes," Elena muttered, before proceeding to repeat herself under her breath. Florence's eyes narrowed. That madness was still there, just hiding under the surface.

Giving a short look to her assistant, Florence turned back to Elena, "Well if you've no orders, than what brings you here?"

"I want to be here," came the next set of muttering, "I need to be here."

Bringing her fingers to massage her forehead, Florence sighed, "And why do you need to be here."

"I'm seeking something," Elena said, leaning forward, "Something outside. I need it."

Setting the dagger on the table, hands resting on top of it, Florence leaned back, a bland expression on her face, "What a wonderful explanation. Perhaps let's skip this nonsense and go a bit further to what we're here to establish, miss...'Wiltmend'."

"You want to know what I am."

"That we do," she murmured, canting a brow, "We would much like to know that."

The other elf brought her hands up to rub together, poking and prodding at herself until she seemed to get a good grasp of 'what' she was. With that established those glowing blue eyes settled on the other two, "I'm like you. Dying. Burning."

The two shared a look, "Last I checked, we're neither mortally wounded, nor on fire."

"Except you're both burning up. You have to keep adding fuel to it, but it keeps disappearing and you need more. Don't do it, and you'll lose it all."

Florence's assistant finally picked a moment to butt in, stepping forward, "Are you some type of withered?"

Elena was swift to rebuke the possibility, "No. No I am not withering, I am. I don't know."

"Wilting?" Florence offered just as blandly as before, "Perhaps try mending it."

"Doesn't work. Never works."

"Too bad," Florence muttered, standing. With a swift motion of her hand her assistant made her way around to Wiltmend's chair, placing her hands on the elf's shoulders. "We're just going to skip the rest of this nonsense. Take what we need to figure a few things out for ourselves without you, thanks."

The other elf barely moved a muscle. Instead she left her hands laid bare flat against the table, staring up at Florence, "I know."

Eyes narrowing, Florence circled the table, dagger in hand. She brought the weapon up, waiting for the elf to do anything. Flinch. Attack. Withdraw her hands. Anything that showed she was worried. But there was nothing. When she didn't get anything, the Nightborne brought the blade down for a reason other than what she intended. It had been brought along to take the elf's hand for the sake of science. That was still what it was accomplishing, but now, it was more out of spite. Once they piece was detached, she motioned for it to be scooped up, and made to leave the room, not even bothering to turn around. She knew what was behind her. A damned elf who never did a damned thing about anything.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 8)

Unhappy worgen weren't exactly the most appealing thing to look at. The creatures weren't exactly appealing as it was, much less so when they were trying to express displeasure. Watching their toothed appearance bend downward and their eyes narrow, and their ears fall somewhere between slicked back and perked up. Nothing about it was pleasant to see.

It was even worse when such an expression was directed at you.

Simmons couldn't help but feel that, given the proper opportunity, Redamous might do a few unpleasant things to him at present. After intense debate, much of which had consisted of Simmons and the elf proposing different ideas followed by Redamous swiftly ruling that they were nonsensical, the trio had finally managed to come to a conclusion that didn't completely make the worgen wish to murder the other two.

When it became apparent that he wasn't going to allow a collar around his neck, nor a muzzle on his face, they did the next best thing they could come up with. They tied a rope to each of their belts, so that the two of them were tied to the worgen, and he to them. At the very least it might give the impression that they had captured some wild beast, for long enough that should anyone attempt to consider it, they wouldn't realize how stupid their method of containment was until the three were far gone.

The other two had of course used the glamours Xanthe had brought to take on the appearance of the guards they had recently relieved of consciousness, and were looking properly elven in turn. Xanthe seemed almost perturbed by the change, not that Red could blame her. Going from one near withering to at least appearing healthy probably wasn't the most pleasing change, especially knowing it was all an illusion.

Simmons was taking the difference a bit better. He stood at one of the windows, having cleared off some of the dust, and was slowly making faces. The palm of Red's hand hadn't left his face for at least a solid minute. Apparently Simmons caught on to the fact that the attention in the room was on him, and finally turned, motioning to himself, "How do I look?"

Redamous finally pried his hand from his face, "Like a damned prick. Can we get this over with now."

The other man frowned, letting out a sigh. Bringing a hand up, he pointed to the worgens hat, "After you take that off." Shooting his eyes up at the thing, the worgen just canted a brow. Simmons crossed his arms, "You're supposed to be some feral animal. Feral animals don't tend to do hats."

With no small amount of grumbling, the worgen reached up, pulling that hat off and leaving his head bare. Once the thing was tucked firmly in his belt, he motioned towards the door, "Go."

Appearing at least somewhat smug, Simmons made for the door, Xanthe following close behind, the worgen getting tugged along. Hitting the streets, Red couldn't help but feel the numerous gazes people were giving him. Every now and then he shot a glance at the crowds to make sure that no one was prepared to make a fuss, only to find looks of sheer horror peering back at him. He couldn't help but snort. These people had demons running around their city. Like hell if he should upset them.

Eventually he determined that despite the odd sight, no one appeared to be overly concerned with their proceeding down the roads. A few of the guards gave them queer looks, but the moment one of the other two muttered the word "Menagerie" they shut their gobs and kept going. Soon enough they had crossed a number of city blocks, and managed to keep going, stopping only when Xanthe needed to determine which way they should be going. The deeper into the city they drew, Red couldn't help but wonder if she even knew where the hell they were supposed to be going anyway.

It wasn't until they stopped in front of a barred door, having tucked into another set of dark alleys, that he regained a bit of that lost faith. Another set of guards stood in front of it, both of them raising their weapons when they came closer. Simmons raised a hand, hoping it would set them at ease. Red's jaw clenched when he realized the man was probably prepared to open his mouth and spew out something on Common, letting out a sigh of relief when Xanthe beat him to the punch.

He couldn't understand a lick of what the woman said, but she appeared to say it well enough. The guards gave the worgen an odd look, but one eventually produced a large ring of keys. As he turned to unlock the door, Xanthe turned to the worgen, muttering a short request under her breath.

The second guard had barely raised his head to note the worgen approach them. Within a moment the beast had grabbed them both by the throat, with the guard who had been unlocking the door facing in the opposite direction, and slammed their heads against the wall, releasing them to allow their limp bodies to fall to the ground. Smirking, Red reached up, turning the key in the lock and pulling the door open. It took a bit of shoving to get it to open enough for them to walk through, given the unconscious elves pressed against it. Closing it behind them and locking it once more, they began their descent once more into the bowels of the city.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 7)

He was trying to come up with something that was worse than walking through sewers. Thus far his attempts hadn't been too successful. Even with a solid twenty minutes of thinking behind the little project, he had produced little for the effort. Most of his list consisted of the lesser duties that kept the Ebon Hold running. Dealing with and cleaning up after ghouls. Making sure that rotting individuals were preserved in a timely manner. That sort of thing.

He wasn't entirely convinced that those were worse than walking through a sewer.

The other two didn't seem to mind. Or rather, Simmons didn't seem to mind. The elf seemed like someone who at one point did mind, but had probably wandered down these winding paths enough to not be bothered any longer. At the very least, neither of them seemed to be as offended by the space as he was. Where they had started off from wasn't anything terrible, mind. But he could tell it was going to get worse the moment they had started moving. It was like knowing an enemy was around a corner. He could practically sense the stench.

Light knew he wanted to think about something else at this particular moment. But nothing was presenting itself. Conversation starting had never been Redamous's strong suit, and wandering through a bunch of samey stone passages that occasionally ran by a long stretch of darkened waters wasn't exactly prime pickings in terms of topic selection. A sigh managed to escape him as they turned a corner, only to be met by stairs. Stairs that were likely to bring them up to the streets above them.

Which they thankfully did. Emerging back into the light of day was a delightful sight, even with the fact that they were deep in enemy territory. The stairs had spit them through an archway, and they stopped alongside a far cleaner canal than they had previously seen. Off in the distance he could see gondolas making their way up and down the stream, though if anyone happened to actually be rowing he couldn't tell. Knowing this particular breed of elves, he could only assume that there was a high chance that they were driven by magic over anything else.

It was at here where their vague set of ideas resembling a plan started running out of steam, just as expected. Once they were in the city, the specifics all fell off the wagon. The biggest idea they had come up with was to find a few guards to knock out, given that the elf believed that in doing so they could potentially garner some marks to use via glamours. Should she be unable to get the little baubles, they were a bit worse off. Simmons could probably pass himself off in something resembling a believable way, so long as no one saw his face, and assumed he was a rather short elf with no ears. The worgen, not so much, though part of the reason for that was because he refused to toss out the idea of giving up his wolfish shape for something a bit more human-like.

The death knights remained back, waiting for the elf to stare up at the buildings above them long enough that she seemed to recognize where they were. When she had decided on their path, they set off again, winding around the canal until it brought them to a ramp which lead them to the busier streets above. From there, they dropped into darker alleys until they were most certainly out of sight of most of the elves going about their day. Regardless of the chance of running into a few sympathizers to the Nightborne cause, and thus people less likely to report them to the guard, it was hardly worth the chance.

Red tilted his head up to look around where they were passing through now. Going off of the various banners and now abandoned wooden stalls, he could only assume the more open space of the back alley had once been a market of sorts. How long it had sat without any vendors or customers, who was to say. That was not to say that it lacked entirely in any sort of life. Based on the slight flickers of light he saw in a few upper windows, a couple of individuals might be using the now empty shops that peppered the area to squat in.

Just as they were about to turn a corner, they were forced to double back due to the light of an approaching torch. Soon enough they found themselves met by another, similar light, whose owner raised his voice to shout, likely at the owner of the first torch. Whatever it was he said was in some elven tongue, and the worgen could barely make out a word of it. Something about finding something, maybe.

A response from a woman was shouted soon after, a voice that grew closer with each word spoken. Soon enough they were sandwiched between the two, with no further places to go, save an old wooden door whose lock had long since rusted. Simmons gave the door's knob a turn, letting out a sigh of relief when it allowed them to enter, which they did, ducking in before they were overcome by the guard.

Inside the dimly lit remains of whatever business was housed beyond the door, they idly wandered about, a sense of irritation and concern filling the room. They had been forced deep inside, due to the guards being right outside the door, torches in full view from the windows. Red let out a grunt as he pressed himself against a wall, doing his best to not stick out like the sore thumb he was, while the other two did similarly.

Off to the Worgen's left was a long shelf filled with old merchandise. Chains, collars, leashes, and harnesses lined it, with various price tags having long since covered over in dust to the point where he couldn't even decipher them. Across the way Simmons was poking at a few bags whose labels were no longer present. He glanced up at Redamous, whispering, "I think this must have been a pet shop or something."

The worgen just shook his head, deadpanning, "Sure as hell hope it was."

To his right he could hear the elf preparing to make some remark, probably a smart one at that as most would be wont to do, but she silenced herself at the sound of the shop's door opening. Torch light filtered in directly after as the guards meandered their way about, moving up and down the various shelves and counters, apparently looking for something. Whether they were just checking for squatters or looking for a more particular individual, none of them could say. All the worgen knew was that they were getting closer, and weren't likely to miss at least two of them. Due in no small part to the fact that their bloody eyes were glowing.

The pair passed by the elf with little notice, worming their way down the two sections of the shop. The one on the far side of the show was bound to walk right past Simmons, and the other was set on a course that walked right past him. Sharing a short look, the two death knights offered each other short nods. Simmons slowly unsheathed his blade, preparing to swing straight at the elf that approached him. Red just clinched a fist, bringing and readied a swing.

Redamous's elf passed first, with his helmet slowly coming into view as he peered about the store. The lock on his face turned from a rather bored expression to one of shock as he turned to find the lumbering worgen standing half a foot above him. It twisted in pain as said worgen's fist came down to slam straight into his helmet, saronite armor meeting whatever metal the elf's own protection happened to be made of. Whatever it was, it made a satisfying clang as it rebounded, sending the elf skittering across the room.

The elf's companion soon rushed forward, looking to help her companion at the sudden attack, only to meet a rune-filled blade, which slashed her across the chest. She too crumpled to the floor. Red turned, noting that the elf he had struck was stirring. Not that he was given the chance to fully do so. The worgen walked on over, bending down to grasp the elf's helmet and pull it up, only to slam it straight back down to the floor. Simmons gave an approving nod as he noticed the male elf's eyes flutter shut.

His approval didn't last too long, as taking the time to check that one elf was down, he failed to keep track of his own target. She soon rose behind him, drawing her own sword and slicing it across the human's back. Red blinked, dropping a foot back to strike at the woman, but he didn't get the chance. Their own elven ally struck first, bringing one of her spindly arms around the woman's neck, throttling her. As the woman's sword dropped to the ground, landing right next to where Simmons had dropped after the blow, she brought her armored gloves up to try and pry the woman from her back. When that proved to be harder than anticipated, she began slamming the other elf up against the walls in an attempt to free herself from her tormentor.

It was a vain attempt. By the time she had managed to free herself, she was forced to her knees, gasping in air like there wasn't going to be enough of it in the world to sate her. Her desperate attempt to take in oxygen was just enough of a distraction for the worgen to swing in and kick the woman straight in the head. The elf's head dropped with a thud, armor meeting wood.

Bringing himself to his feet, Simmons dusted off his armor. Looking at Red, he gave a quick mutter of "I meant to do that."

Xanthe rose from where she had been tossed aside, giving a nod of approval, "And now we have a set of disguises."

"Well," Simmons muttered, looking down at the unconscious elves, "We got two of three. Don't know what we're gonna do about him." He brought a hand up to point at Redamous.

The worgen canted a brow, frowning, "Who the hell says you ain't gonna be the one to go without?"

"Me. I call dibs," Simmons said flatly, crossing his arms.

The elf sighed, "Well if he is to go without, we will have to figure out a way for him to at least trail along without drawing too much suspicion. He looks like a beast that belongs in the menagerie."

Simmons blinked, looking past the worgen at one of the shelves, "Menagerie like. Something full of animals, right?"

Redamous frowned, turning his head to stare at the very shelf he had been peering at earlier, before turning to look back at Simmons. Opening his mouth a few times, only to close it since he hadn't properly come up with a thought, the worgen just stared at the other knight. Eventually he managed to determine just exactly what he wanted to say to the idea Simmons was potentially proposing.

"Try to put one a those collars on me, and I'm gonna strangle both of ya with 'em."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 6)

On most occasions, the pair of them would have agreed that guard duty wasn't a particularly interesting prospect. Sure, at first it was something different, something horrifying. Staring into the proverbial abyss, what with all the screaming and pain. But eventually, much like most things, one became numb to it.

Such was the case for them. Staring straight ahead at the thick wooden door they were meant to guard, the pair were as stoic as was expected of them. The only times they moved was when they were relieved, or when they were set to escort a prisoner from one place to the other. For years the latter had been a rare occurrence. On account of how few prisoners ever got to leave any of the cells of Suramar City.

In more recent weeks, things had changed. People were brought and people left. New people, old people. People who were of species they could never begin to classify. Elves like themselves, of varying heights and skin pigments, were sometimes captured and brought here, as was the case with their current prisoner assignment. Others were things they couldn't begin to describe. Small green things, large blue ones. Wolf men and beings that looked like a cross between goats and something dredged up out of the ocean's depths.

Granted, most of that was heresay. Outside of the variation of elf, the pair had not been witness to any so exotic as that. Few people had, apparently. Mostly because few of them seemed to ever get captured. In fact, far as they had ever heard via a few grapevines, their current guest had practically turned herself in.

Which was only the start of the strangeness of their elven prisoner. Her aloof ways were obvious whenever they tried tossing in a meager meal, which they had given up on doing. By the third day they had discovered that all that they had given her had been piled up in the corner, and was already molding. The mold itself had seemed odd, given that while the dungeon was poorly lit and rather damp, it had only been a day or two.

Other oddities included the smell. Most of the time, the cell housing the elf was completely neutral in its odor. At other points, it reeked of rot as though a pile of corpses sat inside. On several separate occasions though, it had smelled specifically of some sort of flower. Likely a variation that they hadn't been exposed to for thousands of years.

Their current speculation was that it was linked to the woman's muttering. Muttering that never seemed to cease. At all hours of the day she would mutter to herself, incomprehensible phrases in several languages, none of which made sense, even when they could understand the words being said. There would be moments where she was almost reasonable. But as soon as it would leave, madness would creep back into her cell, and they might as well have bid farewell to their more sane guest.

For the first few days the pair of guards had suspected that she was trying to toy with them. Her short mutterings had loud outbursts which would prompt them to charge in to calm her down, yet by the time they arrived she had already switched so far down in tone that such outbursts seemed almost impossible to have ever occurred. On a few evening watches, they had caught her staring at them through the small barred window at the top of the door, blue eyes the only thing visible on her face due to the void of blackness that was her hood. Occasionally they heard whispering that when traced, seemed to originate from the cell, but never seemed verifiable in its source. The words would echo about the hall as though they could have come from any particular direction, but there was no other source for them.

Worst of all still was the effect the woman had on their superiors. The two ladies who continued to attend to the prisoner for regular bouts of interrogation and the rare bit of torture were certainly hitting their own set of walls and mysteries. They did their best to keep their conversations on the topic light when entering and departing the cell, and the guards knew full well that any particular investigation into this matter was the women's alone, yet that didn't stop them from catching snippets.

Details they could produce included things like how the woman seemed to be immune to most forms of pain. How any slices they made at her failed to really phase her. How the scars from such wounds would have disappeared by the time they returned the next day, seemingly healed. Yet the woman was obviously no priest. She was no wielder of any sort of the Light. So they could only assume that she had access to a more sinister power, and had yet to place just what the source was. Today's session had ended in much a similar way. With nothing more produced than frustration and anger.

It was this that the two discussed idly as they were relieved by their colleagues. As the other pair settled in their old spots, the two mused on the possibilities of what was bound to happen to the elf, whose mutterings they could still hear halfway down the hall. Given enough push, their two superiors were just as likely to simply kill the poor woman. But if she could barely be kept injured, what's to say she would die so easily?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 5)

The plan they had been told about wasn't much of a plan. As they sat around the small table in one of the deeper hallways of Shal'aran, Redamous was dead certain of that. At best, it was more of a concept. 'Sneak into the city using a few hidden pathways'. It lacked the finer details that usually came with something most people would identify as a 'plan. Steps, contingencies, and every other sense of flesh was missing, and so they were left with nothing more than a skeleton. An entry point, and a vague idea of what to accomplish once they were there.

Which, to be fair, was more than he had had to work with often enough.

If he were to be completely honest, the Knights had wandered into most situations without much of a plan. Given that hadn't exactly worked out most of the time, but thus far no one had died (again). So sneaking into a massive city filled with addicted elves, all of whom were likely to either attack them on sight or report them under similar conditions, probably wasn't the worst thing he'd ever be part of.

So here he was, standing on a platform, while the particular addict that they happened to be cooperating with spoke with an associate of hers. Someone who had a decent enough idea of teleportation to get them from point A to point B with most of their organs in tact. Not that it mattered if their organs remained in tact, since they weren't really using them all that much. The elf though, well. Red didn't exactly want to wind up somewhere with someone whose innards had suddenly become their outtards.

Simmons obviously wasn't taking the idea as well as he was. He was fidgeting muttering about finding another way into the city, and all around irritable. Part of him had the idea of thumping him upside the head, in the hopes that he'd get knocked out long enough to shut up, but that wasn't really smart. Sprawling someone out on one of these teleportation pads probably screwed with something and, again, the lower their chances of failure, the better.

The other death knight managed to shut his gob once the elf finished up with her colleague, joining them on the bad. Red crossed his arms, raising a brow as he looked down at her, but she refused to really acknowledge him in one way or another. If he had to guess, she was just as antsy as Simmons was. It just so happened that her natural state was twitching.

Away from them the other elf, some hooded fellow who muttered to himself with every little action, was fiddling with something. Under his feet he could feel the pad warming up, and soon enough he expected some sort of portal to gobble them up, and spit them out somewhere else. If that's what happened, he never really noticed.

Instead, they just happened to be elsewhere. There was little fanfare, perhaps a slight whooshing noise, and a change in atmosphere, but beyond that, the change in location was just sudden. So sudden that it took him a solid minute to process just what exactly had happened. At least worth portals there was some sense of warning, it was like using a door in many ways. One just had to get used to the concept of how far a span of space they were moving. This was just wrong almost. Instant. Like watching a mage teleport.

Once he managed to regain whatever sense of composure he had, which wasn't much, he turned his head, making sure that he wasn't alone wherever they happened to end up. Thankfully, he wasn't. The elf was standing near a wall, staring at him, having not been phased too much, far as he could tell at least. The same couldn't be said for Simmons, who was in the midst of pressing his helmeted head against the wall, hands laying against it as well, groaning.

"I think I'm gonna be sick," he whined, bending his head closer to his chest to look at the worgen, "Can we still get sick?"

Redamous just shrugged. The thought had never really crossed his mind. Though if he had to pick an answer, he was certainly hoping that the answer was 'no', considering he had no interest in seeing the contents of Simmons's stomach.

Taking some time to take in their surroundings, he eventually turned to the elf, motioning about to the stone, arch-like walls that surrounded them, "Where the hell're we at?"

Xanthe turned, arms crossed, "We should be in the sewers of Suramar City."

"Oh," the worgen muttered, dreading the moment where they crossed into some space that was far less pleasant smelling, "Then we still need to go up."

"We still need to go up, and we still have a few things to acquire before we pass deeper in, yes."

With a sigh, Red wandered over to Simmons, resting a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to pry him away from the wall. With minimal resistance, the man nodded, hands dropping to his stomach. Taking in a few breaths, Simmons nodded, looking to their elven guide, "Well let's get a move on then."

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 4)

To say that Jeremy Simmons was a complete and utter wreck was an understatement. No lone thought that passed through his mind brought him a single inch of solace, nor did trying to cease thinking. The former just meant that he continued to consider and reconsider every single dark possibility of what had happened to Elena. Or, even worse, what would happen without Elena. She had never been far from his side for more than a few days since their resurrection, and it wasn't until now that he even came to realize that particular fact.

The latter manner of thinking simply made him feel empty. Hollow. Terrible.

Yet all he could do was sit there on the grass, under a tree he and the worgen had found, and stare at the giant elven city. They had hit a dead end in Elena's trail hours ago, though they still sat here, staring at that city. Far as they could determine, she had ran off into the city. Which meant any number of things.

It meant that they didn't have a very reliable method of tracking her, for one. Dirt and tracks were one thing, but eventually she would practically disappear into the city, for any number of reasons. Based on what Red had told him, the place was massive, and he was unfamiliar with the lay of the land. On top of that, they now had to deal with the much higher likelihood that she had gotten captured. Her being captured could mean that she was just dead now, or was being kept somewhere far out of their reach. He couldn't tell which one was worse.

Far worse even still was that tracking Wiltmend in the first place meant trying to process the thoughts of some scatterbrained elf. A scatterbrained elf, who had actually managed to maintain some composure more recently. She had seemed rather lucid when she requested that their next stop be in the Broken Isles. That first of all should have been a point where he just said no, but he had relented. So they had ended up in the middle of a war zone that he was unfamiliar with.

He turned to glance at Redamous, who for some time had been staring Suramar City down. As though he could just will the city to cough up the woman they sought. But despite any forceful glares, the city hadn't relented, and they were still sitting here with nothing. Letting out a sigh, he began turning his head to resume his own staring, before he saw the worgen's ear twitch. Red's nose made a similar motion, lifting into the air somewhat.

The beast slowly rose from the ground, and Simmons just watched. First he turned towards a nearby bush, staring at it for a long time. Simmons noted that unlike the way he stared at the city, this was with more of a wary nature. As though something was hiding in the bush, ready to pounce.


When the fact that someone was probably skulking about in the bushes hit him, he was quickly on his feet, sword drawn, feeling like an idiot. Like an idiot for being in this situation to begin with, as well as the fact that he had been so zoned out as to allow someone to sneak up on them like this. Perhaps somewhat foolish for bringing a worgen who was weaponless, but that was lower on the list than anything else.

They stood there for a solid minute, staring at the bush. The flora didn't so much as rustle in that time. Eventually Red sighed, raising his voice, "Just get the hell out here already."

Simmons blinked at him, but kept his sword raised as there was finally motion. From the bush emerged a pale blue elf, who looked at the minimum half starved. He almost wagered that she was probably closer to three-quarters starved, or perhaps even four-fifths starved, but he wasn't that familiar with starved elves, so he settled on half.

The elf's face was mostly hidden behind a leather mask, which was attached to her leather hood, which appeared to be attached to the leather cloak that coated the rest of her figure, sickly thin limbs included. Her fingers twitched in a manner he almost found familiar, as though she were the near-dead version of the very same elf they sought. Except she wasn't. The first clue of which being that when she spoke, it was in clear common and made complete sense.

"You'll have to forgive me, Redamous," even her words shook, as though she were standing on a different planet entirely. One whose state was constant earthquakes. "I just saw you sitting there and didn't want to interrupt your...Longing stares."

Redamous frowned, looking the elf over. Simmons could only assume they knew each other, but given the worgen's usual disposition when ever they actually had the time to catch up he assumed that such a relationship was rather strenuous. Given, they hadn't caught up in years, but one's feelings towards elves rarely changed, especially among many members of the dead and damned.

Eventually the elf broke the silence, since Red refused to do so. She stepped forward somewhat, "I couldn't help but overhear, that you wished to enter the city."

It was Simmons's turn to frown, a gesture which he turned firmly at the worgen, seeking an explanation. He didn't really get one, with Redamous letting out little more than a grunt at the man. Turning back to the elf, Simmons nodded, "We do. We need to find a woman. Now."

The elf's twitching fingers curled around her chin as she considered the prospect, eyes narrowing as she processed it. Yet with little more detail than that, she nodded, "I wish to do the same. I have a plan for doing so, as well. We could," her voice hitched and shook, "Cooperate."

Once more Simmons turned to Red, waiting for some sort of input. Eventually the worgen relented, nodding slowly, gaze drifting between the human and the elf. Letting out another sigh, he looked back to the elf, "Then let's sit down an' hash this out quick, 'cause we sure as hell don't got long to work out the finer details."

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ghosts (Part 13)

Her eyes were closed, and her breathing was steady. She was knelt in front of the starship, meditating. Nearby, the others were talking about some nonsensical sport played for amusement. Despite her objections, they could not leave, because apparently Imperials would kill them all should they attempt to flee. When she stated that she would like to see them try, Gwynara was swiftly laughed down.

Apparently the Imperials were so advanced with their weapons that they could even strike such large crafts out of the sky.

Once they had decided that one 'team' was going to do particularly well this year, the men departed into the ship, leaving her with the woman. Nadia. Without opening her eyes, she could sense Nadia stand and approach her. Her arms were crossed, and there was a somewhat curious look on her face. Gwynara had to give her credit. She seemed to have a vague grasp on her people, enough knowledge to understand her methods somewhat. But this was still all foreign to her. Though honestly, magic seemed to be unfamiliar to anyone beyond Dathomir.

At one point someone had told her to not come near them with her "Force hocus pocus." Any further questions into the matter simply resulted in talk of a nonsense religion. But her abilities were not nonsense, they were not false. She had grown with them, learned from them. The things that could be achieved with them were incredible.

"Are you going to sit there all day?"

Letting out a sigh, Gwynara finally opened her eyes. Her head swiveled until she was looking at Nadia, "I am attempting to recover."

Nadia couldn't help but shake her head, "I suppose you've earned as much."

"A rest is the swiftest way to move onto another task with full strength," Gwynara said, taking in another long breath, "And perhaps the best way to celebrate victory."

A snort escaped Nadia's lips as she lowered herself to Gwynara's level, attempting to mimic her position. She took in a few short breaths in the same manner, "I feel as though I could celebrate victory in a few better ways."

Gwynara shook her head, "This is the easiest way to commune with the spirits. To thank them for their assistance."

The Imperial woman's lips pursed at that, "Ah, yes. Those spirits."

The Dathomirian nodded, "We must appreciate them for their help. For they assist us with their strength in blessing. At present I am trying to thank the spirit that you called for." Her eyes closed once more, as though to illustrate that point.

Coughing into her hand, Nadia shook her head. Gwynara frowned, one eye cracking open to stare at her with a piercing yellow eye. Wringing her hands, Nadia simply shrugged, "I don't believe there is any spirit to contact, Gwynara."

"Why." A semblance of venom was dripping from her voice.

"Well," Nadia frowned, shaking her head, "He's not dead."

A voice echoed across the hangar, prompting both of them to stand as fast as possible. In a flash both of them had drawn weapons, Nadia wielding a blaster, Gwynara a staff. The latter's eyes narrowed as they saw the quartet approaching. A uniformed man, their leader obviously, took the center, his blonde hair kept neatly under a gray cap. Behind him were three stormtroopers, their white armor stained with dust.

The man kept his voice raised as he repeated himself, even as he drew slowly closer, "He might as well be, Nadia."

The pale woman visibly stiffened, head slowly turning to stare at Nadia. She made note of the numerous beads of sweat that slowly dribbled down the woman's face, as well as how she visibly gulped. Still, she put on a cocky smile, and a similar tone, "Long time no see, Gideon."

A dark look crossed the man's face, something between searing hatred and terrible agony. With a raise of his hand, the troops behind him raised their weapons, ready to fire. The Dathomirian dropped into a lower stance, prepared to strike if attack, but did not move. The man's left hand came up to rub his lower jaw as he considered Nadia, right hand remaining firmly on his blaster.

"This is where you ran off to?" he finally said, letting the left hand drop, "To scuttle about with these terrorists."

Nadia ignored the question, "Gideon, dear, why don't you put the weapons down and go home, before you do something you regret?"

If looks could kill, his would have burnt her alive. "I can't leave, because I have a sense of honor, and duty," he spat at her, left hand coming up to point at her accusingly, "As mother and father raised us on." She opened her mouth to interrupt, but he continued on, "Not gallivanting around the galaxy terrorizing the populace. Not committing acts of terrorism. Not betraying one's own people, and especially not betraying one's own flesh and blood."

Gwynara's eyes narrowed as she turned to look at Nadia, not saying a word. Nadia only offered her a shrug, as though the situation explained itself. Looking back to Gideon, she kept her smile on, "I didn't know you were here."

"Would you not have come if you did know?"

Nadia bit her lip, slowly shaking her head, "No. I suppose I would still have come."

With a flick of Gideon's wrist, the troops advanced, weapons raised, following his short command, "Arrest them, for treason against the Empire, and the act of murder."

The Dathomirian wasn't going to allow that to happen. The moment the soldiers began their advance, she began that low, native chanting Nadia had heard her do mostly to herself before. At first Nadia brought her hands up to her ears, as though something may come over her, but whatever the pale woman was doing seemed to only strike at the Imperials. They all froze, slowly looking around as if they didn't recognize where they were. The soldiers slowly began aiming at each other, fingers resting on the trigger of their rifles.

Nadia's eyes went wide, and she grabbed Gwynara by the arm, doing her best to interrupt her. The Dathomirian turned, glaring at the woman, waiting for an explanation.

"Let's just," her words caught as she tried to come up with an excuse, finding nothing, "Let's just leave. Make them let us leave."

The stare lasted just a bit longer, before Gwynara began muttering something else. Once she was finished, she turned, making her way up the ramp. In his dazed state, Gideon slowly picked up his commlink, and began whispering something into it about a ship departure being cleared. Absolutely mortified, Nadia turned, making her way up the ramp, not looking back.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ghosts (Part 12)

His dinner reservations were off. For at least the next month. At a minimum. In all likelihood, his dinner plans were off for the next few years. If he was lucky. Other possibilities were that he may never have dinner again, soon. Perhaps he would get dinner, from the bad side of a jail cell. Which, given the other things that could happen to him, didn't seem all that bad. There was the chance that, if things turned out bad enough, he could just be executed.

These thoughts were what ran through his head as he vaguely listened to his superior. Back stiff, and arms folded behind it, he was doing his best to nod at all the right moments, and apologize where it was appropriate. The entire conversation had probably been going on for nearly half an hour now, and Gideon wasn't entirely sure that he was going to hear the end of it.

Of course, had their positions been reversed, he would have been doing the same to the Moff. Individuals of such power were entitled to such moments of shaming, especially with a mistake so large as this. A Hutt dying was one thing, a thing that was bound to send the region into chaos for at least a few weeks while the cartels settled everything. But one being killed in such a way that shifted blame onto the Galactic Empire, while said Empire was trying to make a deal with them no less, was much worse.

It made their operations less safe, less efficient, and was bound to slow their supply lines until the Hutts were appeased again. So now he was going to be read the riot act until his superior was pleased. After that, depending on how poorly this shook out, he might be lucky to see the Core Worlds again. If anything, he best get used to these slums.

"And all crew and soldiers in the area have been properly vetted," the Moff was asking.

He nodded, making a motion with his hands to produce the files documenting such on her end of the line, "All accounted for, and none considered to be forming falsehoods. It is obviously an attempt at slandering the Empire, sir."

The Moff scoffed, "It was no 'attempt', Captain. This was a rather successful pursuit." He brought a hand up, forcing a number of filed complaints onto Gideon's screen. As though Gideon hadn't read them all five times by this point.

"We have the spaceport locked down, sir. Our investigation will need time to see if we cannot work something out," he muttered blandly, staring blankly through the flickering hologram.

"I expect to hear reports within the next few days then, Captain," the Moff said flatly, "If I do not, then I assure you the consequences will be dire."

"Of course sir."

With another small wave, the Moff ended the call, and Gideon let out a sigh of relief, dropping from his stiff position into a more slouched one. His search for a chair ended quickly, and he soon was slumped back, staring up at the ceiling, trying to determine if he could burn a hole into it. He couldn't. Spinning the chair around, he stared about the ship, letting out a long sigh as the once glistening panels had lost their sheen. Due in part to the fact that those assigned to clean them had been forced into helping with their search. A search that thus far had turned up nothing.

Off to his left a door opened, and a soldier dressed in the usual white armor approached. First they stopped, standing stiff to salute, before offering a datapad to him. He swiped the thing in one quick motion, slowly skimming through it, before looking up at the soldier, waiting for an explanation.

"Our assessment of the spaceport's recent landings, sir," she stared, "At present nothing appears to match the description of the killers."

He nodded idly, slowly skimming the pictures. She wasn't lying. Based on their assessment of those present, the one's responsible were two rather bulky, but agile, men, who wore all dark clothing. Which was none of these. Going through the security came footage revealed rather the exact opposite. One ship appeared to contain a crew full of jawas. Another was filled to the brim with rodians. And this one...

His eyes narrowed as he stopped, slowly scrolling back up. Tapping the image to zoom it in, he slowly panned through it, peering at the faces it held. On the far right were three men, muscly, but not bulky enough to match their killers. Some grey faced woman was to the far left. Yet straight in the middle, in some worn out brown jacket, was a pale, blonde woman.

Turning the pad around, he held it up to the soldier, voice terse, "What are the registered names of this crew?"

She blinked, taking the device to find them, "We have an unnamed passenger, one Martin Breen, Floyd Garth, Prelen Nek, and Verna Allerson."

Gideon nodded slowly, fingers tapping against the arm of his chair, "Verna."

The soldier nodded, "Y-Yes sir."

He slowly stood, turning to stare at the soldier, "I want two more soldiers, including yourself. You will meet me in front of that hangar. It is not to leave."

"Is there a problem, Captain Grell?" there was a small amount of panic in her voice.

"There will be," he said, pushing past the soldier to go fetch his pistol.