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Ash and Wind: From the Journals of Allunisari Val'jilan
#1
((Updated: January 7th, 2007))

The 14th Day of the 12th Month, 2 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

It still rains ash some days. When the wind is especially strong from the east. With the winds, and the ash comes the voices of the dead. The song is always the same, of sorrow, and a cry for vengeance. My brother swears he hears nothing. Though the ash bothers him just the same, but for different reasons. He was there at the Highway when the Defiler came. But unlike so many others of our race, he did not fight valiantly, but fled. His distaste is a cowards distaste. While the winds and ashes bring me ghosts of our people, they bring him ghosts of his own shame.

The 17th Day of the 12th Month, 2 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

My brother drank himself into a rage again, and tried to fight me. I would have none of it. He railed on about how we have been abandoned by Kael'thas, that our people have no hope and will eventually descend into our addiction until there is nothing left but the hunger. Though I doubt the extremity of my brothers prophecies, I to begin to worry about our prince's absence. Its been over a year since he, and many of our people, went out into exodus to find a source of power capable of sustaining us all. Already I feel the taint of the demonic energies that we are forced to feed upon lay its hold on my soul. If our Prince does not return shortly, we will be forced to choose between losing ourselves to our addiction, or to the darkness which lies within our drug.

The 21st Day of the 12th Month, 2 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

I traveled to Silvermoon today, leaving my brother in care of the farm. I found little but restlessness, doubt and fear. In the market a riot almost broke out. A enterprising merchant had captured a small imp, and was selling its demonic energies to the highest bidder. But in the crowd were to many with nothing to lose. One made an attempt to steal the demon, while many others tried to stop the thief, most likely to turn into thieves themselves. A detachment of Kael'Thas elite guard, Spellbreakers they are called, managed to restore order. But even in their eyes I could see the weariness that wore at all our souls. The imp, I think, escaped in the commotion. While the merchant was cast into the dungeon. I returned home with the seeds for planting, and told my brother nothing of what had happened. He stared at me though all that evening while we sat in front of the fire. It was as if he knew anyways.

The 1st Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

Hope is becoming a commodity just as rare as the magic power which we all hunger so greatly for. My brother disappeared three days ago, but I did not have the heart to write about it until now. I awoke in the morning to find the kitchen much disturbed, and his bed empty. I dont think he even slept in it that night. He took much of the food, but I think I will have enough to survive the remainder of the winter. If not, I have my ring I can barter with for sustenance in Silvermoon. I wonder now if they had always been the will of the gods. For us to be the firstborn, the elder race, only to fall and stumble until we were below even the humans in our station. Is this a lesson? To humble us. Perhaps. It grows hard to think with the constant desire for energy crowding out every thought. Even the pleasures of wine, of food, of a woman’s touch is nothing to the hunger I feel now. I’m afraid, more then the food, that my brother took the last of the essence we had stored away. This may be my last entree.

The 12th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

I am happy to say I have survived these past two weeks, though the circumstances of my survival are far from any sort of joy. Here I write down my darkest deeds, my shame and my sin. So that I could live, I have caused another to die. Murder, no, I would not commit such treachery, not against our own race. The old blood is sacred, this I know. I was forced into a situation of my survival verses another, and like any creature, any beast, I choose myself. My last entree spoke of a ravishing hunger, for indeed it lay heavy on my heart that day. The next morning I woke into the sunlight, only to find it heavy and harsh on my eyes. The dry cakes and honey which had always filled me in the morning were like the ash of the fallen. Each bite did nothing to sustain me, and instead worsened my state for every morsel was a reminder of what I had become. After such wasted feedings I attempted to work in the garden, loosening the dirt and clearing rocks from a new patch of land me and my brother had lumbered the previous autumn. My hands grew slick with sweet and the hoe kept falling to the ground. I tried as long as I could to keep my concentration, but weakness finally stayed my hand. And so I lay in the shade to rest.

I awoke with my mouth as dry as the scorched earth, a ringing echoing through my ear. The wind had picked up again, blowing from the east, carrying once again ash and sorrows. I could barely stand, pulling myself up against a withered oak. Much of the forest was like this, broken and diseased, much like the people who now dwelt beneath their branches. I almost gave up, almost commended my soul to pure bliss that would be my death, but a clatter in the house stayed my will. At first I thought it must be my brother, so I stumbled, and then crawled to the door, and into the kitchen from where the sound echoed. It was not my brother, but the small and twisted form of an imp. Perhaps the same that escaped its demise in Silvermoon not long before. I could not tell.

Here I lay in two parts. One saw this demon with the eyes of a starving man, seeing a feast spread out from horizon to horizon, the other part saw a banquet of sin, and shivered in disgust at the thoughts of its brethren. Unfortunately, the second of my parts died a little that day, as the first possessed me with a strength I no longer knew I was capable off. I bolted to my feet and tried in vein to catch the creature. It gave a gibbering sound and bolted out the window into the log pile. With myself now caught up in the hunt, I was not going to allow such an easy escape. I grabbed the knife I had earlier been using for breakfast, the blade was still slick with honey, and headed out the side door. When I came upon the logs I could still hear the thing scurrying between the cracks. I taunted the demon, mocked it and laughed. It was the laughter of a desperate man, the howl of the mangy wolf stalking outside the rabbits lair in hopes of spooking it into its jaws. I was not so lucky. My prey was far shrewder then any rabbit.

Finally I could take it no longer and began to kick the logs aside, digging deeper into the imps fortress. I could see bits of its flesh deep below, an occasional glimpse of its burning eyes. Finally It lay exposed, staring up at me in hate. It said something in its hateful tongue, and walked out from the rumble in a stately fashion. Like a little man. A lord convicted, and tried, walking with dignity to its death. I warn you, never believe a demons state, for they are crafty. When I reached out to grab hold my prize it turned on me, its claws glimmering with conjured fire. I fell back as flames shot across my face, and then the creature fled into the woods. I gained my feet and was quick behind. My longer stride compensating for its craft navigation of fallen trees and thorny brush.

Our chase took us only to nightfall. Even now I don’t understand where I summoned up such endurance. Desperation perhaps. Finally I cornered it in a rocky gully. The sides were slick and wet from the winter rains, even in its own desperate state it could not claw its way free. Just as I moved forward to capture my prey I heard a howl behind me, and fell to the ground, pushed aside by one of my brethren who appeared more frantic then I. I say brethren because that is what first I took the highborne for, though in fact my impressions were proven wrong as the creature grasped the imp in a strangling grasp and turned to me. Dressed in rags with a mud splattered body, a face once perhaps so fair, now twisted in horrors and hunger. This was the image of my sin and my shame I was yet to commit.

My soul grows to weary to write any further for the moment. I will continue my tale on the morrow, after I rest and mourn the loss of my soul.

The 13th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.
I have dreaded returning to my pen and book. My sensibilities are begging me to forget the deeds of the past and move on. I tried to follow this advice for most of the day, but as the setting sun stains the land red, I can not help but to remember my sins. And so in my remembrance I write, though with much trepidation and regret.

So there I lay in the mud, watching the one who was so much like me. Ghasts they would have called us. Those driven mad by the addiction. Many roam the land, robbing what they can. Some even falling so far as to consume the flesh of man and beast for what little power runs through their blood. I can not say that I am much better then they, for the blood of demons stain my teeth. I could see blood also on this woman’s lips. I could not tell then if it was man or beast, elf or demon, and still I do not know. But I could tell in her eyes that she was far gone into the shadow and even this imp’s blood and my own would not sate her.

These thoughts ran through me in an instant, and in another the woman was on top of the imp, tearing at its limbs and flesh. It howled a most horrid sound. Like the sound the world made when the Sunwell was touched by the hand of the Defiler. It was only for an instant until the creatures neck was snapped and it hung limp in my sisters hands.

I rose to my feet, slowly, like a predator. I remember so clearly my actions now, but then it felt as if another possessed my bones and sinew. I do not say this to excuse my actions, for though it felt another, I know it was just a darker self. We squared of, her and I. Two lions, one old and grizzled, the other young and sly, protecting her kill. Slowly we circled. A stillness fell over us. My feet shifted in the muddy floor of this crevice. A wound in the earth. A little breeze shuffled the leaves, and drove a robin from its perch. I had not seen a robin in these three years. Then, just as quickly as the stillness had come, it fled and we rushed into each other malicious embrace.

We struggled, and clawed. A passerby would not have seen two highborn there in that place, but instead beasts struggling in a combat that could not end until one was dead. In my madness I was determined to be the one who walked away. I know that given the chance I would have killed her with my hands around her throat, but, to my eternal thankfulness, fate stayed my hand. In our struggle we crashed against the face of the cliff, still weak and brittle from the rains. It buckled and broke, caving in on us both. Suddenly the world which had been rage and fury became mud and darkness.

I was not sure how long I was unconscious. A few minutes at the most, perhaps less. I found myself aware with a heaviness about my legs and chest. Only my head and an arm escaped the thick morasses of earth. My new companion lay close beside, likewise covered, though still asleep. There also, not a foot away lay a twisted little corpse of demon flesh. Already it was beginning to dissipate. Its blood turning to steam, and its body to ash. I reached out with fingers bent like claws and pulled the remains to my mouth. And then, I ate. Skin, and blood, organ and bone. Two starving prisoners, and I kept all the food to myself. I felt my strength return with the first bite, and by the time my morbid meal was finished, more power then I ever knew existed in heaven, on earth and in the planes beyond, flowed through my veins. But even as it rose like an ocean in me, I could feel it drain away through a tiny hole in the bottom of my soul. A pin prick that would consume a sea.

With this eldritch strength in muscle and bone I pulled myself in that which sought to be my grave. The woman I saw was lost, beyond me. I am certain that a small portion of my feast would have sustained her long enough to find more nourishment. But now that all was gone, she had no hope in this world. I left her there, in the comforting embrace of the earth. I made my may back to the steading, and then slept for many days. For several more I wept and cursed myself. Still I do. And forever more.

The 18th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

The rains have come on heavy, washing away stains of land and heart. The fields have become to muddy to work in so I have taken to reading in front of the fire. I have only a small collection of books here. We used to have many more, but were forced to sell them for food and seed soon after the Trail of Sorrows. Even in times of extreme catastrophe knowledge will always be of value to the Highborne.

In my readings I came across a passage of particular interest. It talked of the Sunwell and its relationship to us. How it was a font of energy which sustained us in life and spirit. Though all this I had known before, it got me thinking that what we really need is a alternative, a power strong enough to act as a surrogate for the Well. I racked me mind to come of with such alternatives but the only solutions I could reach were abhorrent to me. Only a daemon of awesome strength could hope to compare to the energies of the Well. To bind and drain a daemon of such power would surly corrupt our entire race, and doom the world once again under our behalf. Once is enough for any race to almost destroy the world.

The 20th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

The rains have turned to snow, and the wood is getting low. I will have to go out and get more before the week is done.

The 22nd Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

The east winds have struck up again. The Dark Winds, the Dying Winds, the Ghosts Wail. Many names for it have sprung to my mind. With so many terrible qualities it is had to choose just one name for it.

The snow, which for a few short days made the land glisten with hope and purity, is now stained black with ash. The peace of mind it afforded me has been replaced with a heart of malcontent. This is only amplified by the hunger I can once again feel in my soul. Though the fire burns low I have no desire to go seeking for wood today. I can hear the woman in the gully add her voice to the thousands who ride the eastern winds.

The 24th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

There is no more wood, and a fever burns across my mind. I lay huddled in blankets, drenched in my own sweat and filth. My mouth is dry like the ash which continues to fall. My thoughts race without control. This is my first fever. The Sunwell has always protected us. Who will protect us now?

The 29th Day of the 1st Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows.

My brother has returned.

He says he came into a house dark and empty, and thought me gone or dead. He found me in my bed, wreathed in blankets and sweat. Now looking back it seems this is how I described myself in the clutch of the fever, though I do not remember the writing of it. But my brother has returned. He looks very well.

The 2nd day of the 2nd Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows

I have slept long and deep, aided in part by my brothers medicinal ministries. I awoke today fresh and able. My limbs are still weak, but my appetite has returned. I feel though that the sickness has effected me in a permanent manner. I just do not feel as strong as I have in the past. Every breath feels like a chore. I have not mentioned it to my brother and caretaker, for he has enough to worry about taking care of me, the house and the farm. Truly I am surprised at his diligence. Even at his most responsible times he has not embraced work so fiercely. In these few days of me in bed rest he has patched the outer fences, bundled and stacked the hay, replaced the shattered windows on the bottom floor, and planted the inner fields. I feel slightly ashamed that I can not assist him. Though given a few more days of rest this shall be reminded.

Greater though then his care and work, my brother has provided for me magical sustenance. From his travels he returned with several stones, soul stones he calls them. They contain the arcane essence of lesser creatures. Much like we hunt for meat, he hunts them for their souls and traps them in these gems. I must admit I was slightly revolted at first, but then the taste of imp blood flashes across my tongues memories, and I shed all disgust and feed willing from the pulsing purple jewels.

Now that I write once again about the imp, I remember the dreams I had in my fevered state. I saw again the crack in the earth, the feral woman and the avalanche, but after those true events, the dream shifts. I see again the woman, laying buried there, though it is much later. With inhuman strength she pushes the rocks aside and climbs to freedom. Then with fierce eyes, blazing with hate she swears eternal damnation upon my head. Even in my wakeful state the thought of it sends a shiver down my spine. Much like the winds of ash and sorrow from the east seem to carry ghosts, so now do my dreams.

The Eighth Day of the Second Month, 3 Years after the Trail of Sorrows
Though I will confide it to no one but the pages of this diary, I believe I am going insane. This morning my brother and I were clearing rocks from the outer field. I have been feeling much better these past few days, and thought it good to at least spend a few hours outside in the sun. Our people have a certain connection to the sun, and thought my brother thinks it superstitious nonsense, I am quite convinced that the sun's exposure helps in the curing of the sick. But today, while it did improve my spirits and seemed to fill my limbs with extra strength, it did nothing to banish the ill omen that crossed by sight.

I am strayed a ways from my brother, to the other side of the field closest to the forest. I was working on an especially stubborn rock when I heard the sharp sound of a twig shattering under a foot. I looked up to see an apparition flitting between the trucks of two ancient alders. Naked, with skin of porcelain, and hair of darkest auburn was the woman I had let die. I saw her only for that brief instant, before she disappeared deeper into the trees. My spirit yearned to reach out after her, to dance in sunlight filtered by the glades elegant branches, but my body remained frozen. Governed by a tyrant mind of terror.

I said nothing to my brother, and after a time I continued my work until the sun threw scattered reds and oranges over the landscape. I think my sibling noted something amiss, for though he mentioned nothing he gave me two soul crystals for my daily substance instead of the usual one. I’m not sure where he is getting these gems now. The small bag he had brought with him from his journey would have long since been used up. I refuse to ask, for I am afraid that their source is not something I could morally agree with. But without them, what sort of monster could I become?

The Tenth Day of the Second Month, Three Years after of Trail of Sorrow

I saw her again today. Three times. The first was in the morning, her face briefly peeking in through the mist clouded glass. Then again during my morning walk. She ran across the trail in front of me. As quick and sleek as the elk which once inhabited this land so fully. The third time was not ten minutes ago, in my very room.

I had bid goodnight to my brother, and climb the stairs to my chambers with the help of a single candle. In open the door I heard a muffled hiss, and saw her crouched upon me desk. Violet eyes filled with such malice and hate captivated me like the gaze of the Stranglethorn viper before it gave its deathstrike. But I would not be freed into death that day. Instead with a single leap she disappeared out the window. Like a bird she must have soared, for I heard no crash of feet or form below. I checked and noted that nothing was missing, nothing out of place. In fact no evidence remained of her visit besides a window opened into darkness.

I am convinced she is a spirit of some kind, and if so there must be something I can do to put her to rest. Perhaps I should go and see if I can not grant her body a proper burial. Perhaps I shall tell my brother of my plans. His knowledge in magic and spirits has grown immensely since his travels, and even this evening he was devouring yet another book of arcane lore garnered from the markets of Silvermoon.

I look out into the darkness of my window and I can not sleep. This night is like a graveyard stretched out into the infinite, and each point of light in the sky brings no comfort, for each is like a angry eye burning vengeance into my soul.
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#2
AND?! :evil:

Me wants more - I didn't even think about the devastation aspect of the Scourge invasion, only the addiction in the wake of the Sunwell. Very intriguing prospects here.
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#3
Another entree has been entered by just editing the first post. It leaves off at another cliff hanger, so my apologises for that. Hopfully I will continue with a bit more regularity though be warned, I am going to be moving this new week so it may be difficult. Enjoy.
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#4
I have added another entree. Thank you for all those who are reading. I hope you are getting some enjoyment from it.
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#5
Ebberk Wrote:I have added another entree.

A little spelling quibble... you've added another entry. An entree is something you eat. Just thought I'd mention it since you'd said it a couple times.

Other than that, this is a really great read. You've got amazing attention to the details, and a really Poe-like approach. Can't wait to see more!
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#6
*waits with bated breath*

((I like it! Great pacing and voice. Keep it coming!))
Oryx - Jadox - Koryx - Atorax - Cabochon - Hargrim - Morwen - Stillweaver - Talindrys
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#7
New entreeeeeeeee...ok..entry.
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#8
Its been awhile since I last posted, and I apologize to those who were reading for that. My current internet provider for some reason blocks the Ironsong Tribe webpage, so access isnt all that convenent. I hope you enjoy, and comments are always welcome, good or bad.
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#9
((Please keep going! This was a wonderful read!))
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#10
((Keep going with this, I like the story so far))
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#11
Another two entries have been added. I suspect that the next time I add a submission it will wrap up the story. Thank you all for reading.
-peace-
sam
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