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DoaD - The Next Chapter
((The next piece of Melikar's story is about to unfold, and it involves more than just the past this time! It's going to be an all out war as Kardwel (hated by Melikar and many others because of his snottish attitude) is accepted into Ironsong. Watch the drama unfold here! Please leave comments about what you think. Thank you. Also, if you'd like to get involved, let me know. This story is open to everyone.))

Chapter 1:

In a war-torn world, there would eventually be a time when people would have to set aside their differences and work together. One way or another, they were all fighting for the same things.

Freedom and happiness.

Everyone had their own ideas about what happiness meant, but most could agree it was the feeling of belonging with others and having the freedom to choose what they wanted to do with their lives. For Melikar, half of that was true. He’d had the freedom to decide what he wanted to do with his life, but he’d never felt like he fit in.

After being adopted by a Night Elf, and clearly not fitting in with her kind or any of those she associated with, his life was turned upside down when Orcs raided the town they had lived near. Discovering him, they didn’t want to take a race that allied with them as a prisoner. Not to mention he was 12 years of age and that was deemed too young to just throw in with the others. Shortly after his move to the Horde, he’d discovered that his adoptive mother had gone insane. Why, he may never be able to find out. She turned to the Burning Legion and followed after Kil’Jaeden himself. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that she tried contacting him through some twisted type of mental images and thoughts.

Figuring it was all tied to a pendant she’d given him as a gift before their departure, he’d rid himself of the thing in a shamanistic ritual of sorts provided by a fellow tribe mate. Another thing he’d rid himself of on that day, was a picture of a beautiful Draenei woman. God, he hadn’t thought about Resni in ages. After being pulled to the Horde and learning the path of the warrior, it quickly became apparent how the two of them would never be. He hadn’t heard from her since he’d last seen her. That had to be over a year ago.

These thoughts all slipped through his mind as he drank down a hefty glass of bourbon, situated at a bar in Orgrimmar. A lot of the patrons came here to forget about their troubles after a long day of fighting off nature’s monsters, Alliance or both. Melikar found himself in the “both” category, having just returned from an adventure in defending the Arathi Basin. He’d come a long way since his youthful days of hating where he was. He went from disliking everyone he talked to, to cherishing those who allied themselves with the Horde. He would consider himself quite happy if it were not for two things. The first, was all that pushing away. He’d been quite a loner when he was younger and never embracing Horde traditions. Namely, Darkspear traditions. It was as if he was making up for all the lost time now that he really did care about where he was. Besides the fact that he spoke Troll and looked like one, he was about as troll as a human. Sure, he knew the basic history of his race. With Sen’jin and Vol’jin and all that. But he really just didn’t fit the mold. He was sure the fact that he was of brought up with his own kind was because of that.

And the other problem…his mind drifted back to Resni again thinking about how nice she’d been to a complete stranger. From his time living with a Night Elf, Melikar had come to know some of the common language. Not a whole lot, but enough to get by in a conversation. When the Draenei had first landed here, he’d stumbled across her in a totally strange manner. It was that time in his life that he was trying to figure out what to do with himself. He didn’t just want to sit around in a village all his life, watching Trolls come and go. Especially when he didn’t even know enough about his own people. He’d taken a journey then, possibly to find his life’s purpose. And that was when he met her. She’d only been on the planet for roughly a week when he met her. Having no idea what the other was, they decided to play nice and see where things went.

Melikar smiled slightly, remembering meeting her for the first time. She seemed so scared of him, and yet stood bravely before him just as she would in the face of death. This, of course, was before the Alliance intervened with the higher ups of her race. They made do together, living with one another for a few months before Melikar had decided it was time to return back to Durotar. He’d heard that the Alliance was looking for any Draenei willing to help fight against the Horde, and he’d never had the heart to tell her just what she’d be fighting. Maybe if he had, she’d have come with him. Of course, the Horde had heard of these new found allies of the Alliance and had taken up their own. The Blood Elves soon left their high positions and came to fight the war with them.

He could still hear her voice that day he left, the soft, feminine sound resounding inside his head: “You’ll come back a brave and strong warrior, yes? And me…I’m going to be a mage. My mother always said it would be a good fit for me.”

He’d simply nodded and been on his way. This was why he became a warrior…so he could go back and see her. Was she still waiting for him? He highly doubted it. She’d probably had very similar changes happen in her life since then. And besides, he hadn’t thought about Resni at all since he’d found a guild to be a part of. Someone else seemed to be dominating his thoughts now, and he quickly changed his train of thought from reminiscent, to hopeful.
A new woman was forming in his mind. Not one of a Draenei, but that of a more…human looking creature. But only she looked much better than any human. Reddish hair to her shoulders, the gleam of mirth always present in her green eyes. He found himself smiling a bit flirtatiously at his drink and suddenly caught himself. Quickly glancing around, he realized he must’ve looked like an idiot.

Yes, it was obvious that Resni was not the one he was trying to impress anymore. Now it was someone else entirely. But God’s knew if she’d ever find out. When it came to battles, Melikar just threw himself in there. Hacking and slashing with his swords, growling menacingly at his opponents, scaring off puny Gnomes…but when it came to matters of the heart, he couldn’t be more of a wuss. If he had to explain his feelings to someone, he’d come off as some creepy Troll guy. And a looser, probably. Then no one would want anything to do with him.

He sat there, stewing these thoughts over in his mind when he felt someone come up next to him. Thinking nothing of it, he continued with his thinking when a new voice suddenly interrupted him.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

Melikar glanced up, realizing it was a voice he despised.

“Dat’s a voice Ah nevah wanted ta he’ah again.”

A slight chuckle from the patron next to him showed the he was going nowhere.

“You wish, huh?” The voice said. It then proceeded to order a drink, making it sound like the drink had to be out pretty fast.

“What do ja want, Kard?” Melikar asked, turning back to what was left of his bourbon.

“What do I want?” The blond blood elf questioned, turning so he was facing Melikar a bit better. “Why nothing more than to be with my Troll friend!”

His tone clearly showed that wasn’t what his reasoning was.

Melikar glared over at him.

“Yeah right, Ah won’ believe dat fo’ah a second.” He paused for a moment, “What ja really he’ah fo’ah?”

“What?” Kardwel asked, his voice holding accusation. “A friend can’t check on another.”

“We’ah not friends, Kard.” Melikar quickly added.

Kardwel grinned.

“Oh, but I believe we are.”

The Orc bartender came over and placed a drink in front of the elf, staring at him for a moment before walking away. His eyes didn’t avert fast enough however, for Kardwel suddenly stared back, quirking an eyebrow.

“What?” he asked innocently.

The bartender didn’t answer, just looked away and walked as he went.

“Yeah, I know I’m good looking!” Kardwel called out. “This is what you wish you saw in the mirror every day, but you don’t!”

Melikar rolled his eyes as Kardwel said these things. The bartender didn’t give a reaction, just kept walking away. In Kardwel’s case, that was the best you could do.

Grabbing the drink, Kardwel turned back to Melikar, flicking some stray hair from his face.

“So, as I was saying…” he continued, “I’m hot.”

“Ah’m pretteh shu’ah da bartendah be hatin’ ja now.” Melikar said, turning his head toward Kardwel.

Kardwel took a sip of the drink, his eyes glancing towards Melikar.

“Oh that’s fine.” Kardwel stated, “I give this place some good tips.”

“You tip?” Melikar asked, bringing the glass to his mouth once more, “Dat’s amazin’.”

He took a long swig as Kardwel smiled from his spot.

“All your little Ironsong friends love me by the way.” He then brought up.

Melikar couldn’t help but laugh at that.

“Yeah right, dey all be hatin’ ja if ja evah show ja face ta ‘em.”

“Unfortunately,” Kardwel began, “They don’t know my reputation. As far as they’re concerned I’m the nicest Blood Elf in all of Azeroth.”

“Ja real self be showin’ t’rough at some point.” Melikar pointed out, “Dey know who ja be befo’ah long.”

“Yes,” Kardwel added, “But I can have fun until then.”

“Kard,” Melikar said, “Ja not da type a’ person dat sucks up vereh well. Mehbe ja do at firs’, but den ja real self jus’ come pourin’ out and dere be not’in’ ja can do about it.”

There was a brief pause as both of them took more time downing their drinks.

“Ah’m glad ja not in wit’ dee Ironsong. Ah’d probably kill mahself if ja was.”

Kardwel’s eyebrows rose at this, followed by a grin far too wide to make Melikar comfortable.

“Better get your swords ready then.” He muttered.

Melikar’s eyes grew wide, his jaw dropping a bit.

“Ja not-“ he started, but then cut himself off.

Kardwel was not looking at him, but instead into the glass of alcohol, still grinning madly at the situation and at Melikar’s reaction.

“Oh mah God…” Melikar then said, “Who would even T’INK ta let ja in dere!?”

Kardwel looked at him then.

“Dispaya herself invited me in.” he said smugly.

The spirit just drained from Melikar’s face as his whole body slumped forward.

“Ah can’t believe dis.” He groaned, putting a hand to his head. This was the LAST thing he needed right now. “Ah’m getting’ ja kicked out.”

“I’m afraid you can’t.” Kardwel said, knowing he pretty much owned this conversation.

“An’ why not?” Melikar suddenly asked, his voice rising.

The look on Kardwel’s face showed he was getting a kick out of this.

“I’m a Paladin.” He stated simply, “They need me.”

“Dey need ja about as much as Ah do!” Melikar continued.

“A lot?” Kardwel asked.

“No!” Melikar nearly shouted in disbelief, “Not at all!”

“Well, good luck on getting a perfectly fine, good looking, helpful, and wonderful Paladin kicked out of the guild you so admire.” Kardwel said, leaning onto
the bar now and inching closer towards Melikar, “But I’ll bet you five-hundred gold it’s not gonna happen.”

With that, he stood up, pulling a couple pieces of silver from his pocket and tossing them on the counter.

“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around Mel.” He said, the anticipation of his torture just creeping through his tone.

Looking at the measly amount of money on the counter, Melikar glanced back up at Kardwel’s frame.

“Ah t’ought ja said ja tipped.”

Kardwel paused for a second.

“I do.” He said.

Then he grabbed Melikar’s right tusk, forcing his head to turn so they were looking eye to eye.

“You’re my tip.”

He roughly let go, smiling and strutting out of the bar, his long hair flowing with pride behind him.

Melikar turned and faced the bar once more, suddenly filled with anger. You didn’t just grab a troll by his tusks. Normally, one would beat the hell out of you right then and there for doing so. But Melikar supposed that wasn’t exactly in his nature. Whatever was going to happen, he had a feeling he was really going to hate his life now.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
Chapter 2:

“Don’t tell me I have to touch that thing.”

The Undead man glanced up at these words, as if noticing the Blood Elf for the first time.

“You want a flight or not?” his hoarse voice seemed to echo, putting the words quite bluntly. Most Undead were known for such attitudes. Maybe at one
point in time, they were just regular humans. But the turn from death back to a life among others turned many of them sour.

Not that it was their fault. The Forsaken had broken away from the Lich King’s grasp, finding hope where the Scourge was concerned. They had a chance to fight back at what had destroyed their lives. Because they’d been associated with the Scourge at one point in time, many of their minds had been…corrupted, to put it easily. A lot of them didn’t have the same positive outlooks they once had on life. Seeing it through the holes of dark, sunken sockets instead of their once bright eyes.

Still, this didn’t stop Kardwel from wishing he had a nice Sun Hawk right now. The bats before him hung upside down on bars, their large frames looking disgustingly hairy. One revealed its face from under a thin wing, its piggish snout staring at him in front of a pair of beady, black eyes before disappearing again.

Kardwel’s lip curled as he stared at the creature.

The bat handler’s assistant was pulling on the reigns of one, coaxing it down to the floor. The bat shifted its wings, pulling itself awkwardly along the floor, scooting its body and propping itself up in front of the blonde elf, ready to take flight. The bat handler held out his decaying hand, showing Kardwel that he wanted some money.

Kardwel reluctantly pulled a few silver from his pocket, never taking his eyes off the bat. It made an odd squeaking sound which seemed to put him off even more. Dropping the silver in the Undead’s hand, the man nodded.

“You gonna get on or just stand there all day? Other people want to go.”

Kardwel chanced a glance behind him and saw a large tauren, a female blood elf and a troll all waiting their turn. Grimacing, he lifted one leg over the bat and sat on its rounded back. Almost immediately, he felt the creature lurch forward, taking off into the air, flapping its brown wings madly. Kardwel threw himself forward in an effort to stay mounted on, grabbing the bat’s hair and getting a good, full whiff of the thing.

Pulling back almost involuntarily, he nearly gagged. God, these things were GROSS! He found himself holding his breath as the bat carried him through Undercity’s sewers and out into Tirisfal Glades. Once they exited the sewers, he breathed out quickly. Maybe it wouldn’t smell so bad here. Luckily, it didn’t. But every now and then, he caught another smell of the bat and would look away, his gaze pleading his surroundings to make it stop.

For nearly half an hour it went like this. All the while, Kardwel wondered why they didn’t switch to a less repulsive form of transportation. Looking ahead of him, he saw the outlines of the buildings at Tarren Mill. Glad that he was getting to leave this thing soon, he felt his impatience rising. The bat turned, making its way for the cages.

As he got closer, Kardwel saw another person clambering onto a bat from here, ready to take off. He saw it was an Orc bedecked in leather, who seemed to have a hard time getting on. The bat suddenly lurched itself from off the ground, the Orc trying wildly to grab the reigns and pull the bat up. But it was flying exactly where Kardwel was coming in. His eyes widened as he realized what was going to happen.

Grabbing the reigns, Kardwel pulled a hard left and the bat switched to that direction, narrowly missing the Orc by inches. The bat didn’t like being suddenly blown off course, however and it made an immediate right back to the cages.

Bad move.

Instead of landing neatly on the ground like was supposed to happen, the bat flew right into the others, who, until now, had been resting peacefully. This rude awakening didn’t please any of the bats and they all began to flap their wings and screech at one another. And to someone looking on from the outside, all they would’ve seen was a mass of brown and black things making a lot of noise, the scream of a blood elf heard somewhere from within.
Kardwel felt his world go vertical as he cried out at all the commotion. He let go of the bat, finding his form falling freely until it hit the earth with a solid “thump”. The wind was knocked out of him in the process, and for a moment, he felt panic well in him as he couldn’t breathe. He lay there for a few moments, catching the air in his throat, until finally, he decided he had to stand up and get moving. He slowly hefted himself from off the ground, standing straight and trying to wipe the grass and dirt off his mail clothes. When he looked up, he stopped dead.

Every Undead at the Mill must’ve been staring at him. And they were all looking at him like he was completely nuts. He found his eyes looking down, suddenly hating the bats. Oh, never again! If that happened to him one more time, he was going to make them pay!

“You should seriously invest in Sun Hawks,” he said to the bat keeper, rather rudely, “They’d be much better than those hideous things.”

The bat handler didn’t offer a reply.

Making sure he was in one piece, he proceeded into the Mill proper. Some of the Undead still looked at him, but many had now gone back to their usual routines.

“You sure know how to make an entrance.”

Kardwel looked up at the raspy female voice, seeing an Undead woman approaching him.

He grabbed his hair, pulling it all up behind him and away from his face, making sure it still looked good and didn’t have any knots in it. When he was satisfied with the feel, he let it drop back down.

“I suppose you could say that.” He said, his tone slicing the air much differently than any Forsaken voice.

“We’re in need of people like you,” The woman carried on, not caring for Kardwel’s looks at all. “The farms here in Hillsbrad have been giving us some trouble. They’re associated with South Shore, no doubt.”

Kardwel half-listened, more interested in looking at his finger nails to make sure no dirt had resided there as the woman dragged on.

“How about you go take some of them out?” the woman asked.

Kardwel did look up at this.

“South Shore?” He asked, “Sure, no problem, how much you paying me?”

The woman’s look instantly turned dark.

“No, not South Shore you prissy Blood Elf.” She spat, “The Hillsbrad Farms.”

Kardwel grinned a bit when she said “prissy” and then stopped viewing himself. Sighing a bit, he lifted his head and looked at her.

“You mean the same Hillsbrad Farms that supplies South Shore with fresh apples and other farm goods every day?” He questioned.

The woman seemed unsure what to say. That…wasn’t usually a question she got when it came to taking out the humans there. It was usually just an agreement and the mercenary had been on their way.

“…yes.” She answered slowly, really not caring that they supplied South Shore with farm goods. “And the same Hillsbrad Farms that are planning revolts against us.”

Kardwel nodded then.

“I see.”

Seemed reasoning with this elf wasn’t impossible after all.

“The humans are always planning attacks against their undead relatives.” The woman said, “It wasn’t too long ago when we were like them. But things just had to change. What was once viewed with love, is now viewed with hate.”

For a moment, Kardwel didn’t say anything. His arms folded across his chest, he seemed to be thinking. And like a light going out, his eyes seemed to dim.
There was an odd silence that crossed over this undead woman and this blood elf man. When Kardwel didn’t speak, the Undead spoke once more.

“So you’ll do it?”

Kardwel suddenly looked up as if realizing where he was.

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” He suddenly stated, his eyes lighting right back up. “How much?”

The woman had begun to turn away, and now she glanced back at him.

“I’ll pay you when I see you can get the job done without dying.”

Kardwel smiled, showing he was not in agreement with that. Raising his eyebrows in a way that clearly showed he thought he was the better of the two, he spoke again, this time slower. As if she wouldn’t understand if he said it any quicker.

“How much?”

The woman’s eyes narrowed and her jaw tightened.

“Fifty silver.” She stated bluntly.

Kardwel’s jaw dropped.

“Fifty silver!?” He proclaimed, “That’s peasant money! That’s what those damn Hillsbrad humans are making off their stupid apple sales in South Shore over the course of a week! I can’t believe you expect me to go and-“

“Fine, I’ll give you nothing.” The woman interrupted.

Then, without stopping to hear any more of what he had to say, she walked off.

Kardwel stood there for a moment, thinking of something he should shout at her to make her realize that fifty silver for a mercenary job was simply preposterous. Nothing was forthcoming however, and grumbling to himself as he usually did, headed off. He’d have to change her mind on that later, once he had a good plan.

Walking down the paths created here long ago, Kardwel began to think of how he’d go about getting rid of these humans. He was a paladin, he didn’t have a lot of ways of sneaking around. He supposed he would have to use his Holy abilities to get the job done. Same as usual. And that was something he didn’t like either. He never liked doing the same old routine day in and day out, he constantly was looking for change. Easily distracted much?

He finally reached the farms in question after nearly twenty minutes of walking. God, when he had a horse, this would be so much easier. He couldn’t want for that day to finally arrive.

He saw all the trees and that had apples and berries growing from them, their large bush-like frames covering most of the view in front of him. He could see a house off to the right, down the way a bit. Other than that, it didn’t look particularly crowded. Keeping close to a line of trees on his right, he slowly made his way forward. He stopped every now and then, to listen to his surroundings, but he heard nothing but an occasional wind through the branches.

He stepped forward, getting closer to the fence as he went. Why did he feel so nervous? It wasn’t like he’d never killed anything before. And the people here wouldn’t hesitate to kill him if given the opportunity. Or, at least take him prisoner. And that was the last thing he wanted.

He heard Melikar’s words echoing through his mind then, something from back when they first met. Back when Mel was still in his early days of training: ”Trust meh, it always be seemin’ pretteh easeh at firs’, ja know? But…den ja do it an’ it jus’…seems too hard.”

In his mind, those were the words of a coward. But then how come he felt like it was the only thing he could relate to at this point? He suddenly saw movement out of the corner of his eye and he quickly ducked back behind a thick tree trunk. Turning his head so he could just see past the bark of the tree, he saw a human woman walking along the fence line. She seemed to be looking the trees over, taking note of their condition.

Swallowing hard, Kardwel felt the hilt of his pole-arm as he reached for it. The woman suddenly turned then, walking back the way she’d come. Letting out a sigh of relief, Kardwel relaxed his body. This shouldn’t be so hard! These people were his enemies, people that stood against his beliefs and the people he was allied with. They just went about their business, taking out the already poor Horde forces as often as they could. They were ruthless, they were greedy and they would do everything in their power to make sure people like him didn’t succeed. Feeling his heart suddenly harden, he turned and strode quickly to the fence. If someone saw him, he gladly fight.

He reached the fence quietly however, hoping deftly over the wood frame and making his way between the bushes. They were spread out widely in rows, so that stepping between them wouldn’t make a lot of noise. He was about to past one when a sudden sound stopped him. Sounded like foot falls. Quickly, he stepped back, hiding behind one of the bushes as someone walked right past the open spot he stood in a moment ago. It was the same woman from before and this time, she did stop. Not to look at the bushes around her this time, but as if detecting something in the air.

Kardwel remained where he was, afraid to even breathe. The woman looked around and he found himself silently praying that she’d keep moving. What had she done? Did she even know that these farms were a place known to set up attack plans against Tarren Mill? What if she was just unlucky enough to work the patrolling shift this evening? What if she was completely…innocent?

Kardwel didn’t realize how lost he was getting in his thoughts. In doing so, he was quickly becoming careless and his arm suddenly slipped against the bush, making it rustle.

He froze, hearing the woman behind him turn on her feet. He felt himself instinctively bring his pole-arm forward, holding it close to him. The woman stood there for what seemed like forever. Then, Kardwel heard what he was dreading. The footsteps were getting closer. The were coming around from his left. He found himself moving right, but he knew he couldn’t hide forever.

With a sudden motion, the woman appeared way too quick for comfort around the bush. For a split second they looked one another right in the eye, a sudden fear pouring through both of them. Then the woman turned and began to yell something in Common. Kardwel couldn’t tell for the life of him what she was saying, but he had to make her stay quiet!

Almost of their own accord, his arms suddenly thrust the pole-arm forward, catching the woman oddly in the shoulder. She cried out as blood began to pour from the wound the weapon had just made. She tried feebly to fight off Kardwel’s attacks but he couldn’t stop now. She turned and began to run, but the pole arm swept deftly across the backs of her legs, causing her to loose balance and fall forward. She scrambled madly to get up and keep moving, chancing a glance at the Paladin behind her, panic now stricken across her face.

That had been her error. She should’ve just kept moving, but her sudden look behind her made her slow down, and Kardwel caught up a little too quickly. Feeling the blade end of the pole arm slice smoothly through her skin, she looked up at him one more time in disbelief, before all life faded from her. Pulling the pole arm free, the woman fell to a loose heap on the earth, her blood staining the ground beneath her, her empty eyes staring up at the night sky.
Kardwel backed up, blood sliding down the blade as his eyes stared in horror. What had he done? He then heard shouts from behind him, deeper ones. Farm hands must’ve been coming. There was no doubt in his mind they’d heard something. Quickly, he slung the pole arm over his shoulder and ran so fast from the scene, it was as if his legs couldn’t understand the speed flowing through them.

Melikar’s words once more echoed in his mind and he had to admit, he didn’t think the Troll had ever been more right.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
Long, pale fingers pulled aside the raspberry curtain leading outside to a balcony. As Thanuist stepped through into the moonlight of her home city, she shivered a bit at the chill of the night air. Her glowing green eyes searched the garden below her, as if she was waiting for something... or someone to appear.

She leaned forward, grasping the cool metal bar lining the balcony. Her eyes darted as searched as her ears perked.

The only sound they heard was that of water falling from the garden fountain.
He so wasn't used to this.

Reaching up and unbuttoning the collar of his shirt, Melikar breathed out a sigh. He'd had quite a chat with Thanuist tonight. She told him things about her life that he never thought he'd know. He was sure some of the alcohol that had been streaming through their blood this evening might have had something to do with it.

Or maybe it was just making her more honest towards him.

Whatever the reason, he was glad she'd said something. Glad she'd opened up to him, and happy that he finally felt he was getting somewhere. Feeling the clean white shirt on his body, he felt oddly light. Perhaps he wasn't used to not wearing heavy plate armor everywhere, or perhaps it was the relief that flowed through him at what he'd said. Sure, Thanuist may have opened up to him a bit, but that didn't mean he hadn't said his own words. He'd been so nervous as he sat there at the table with her.

The blue curtains of the Silvermoon Inn seemed to dazzle as he reflected on it. He was drinking a little more than he should've been, his nervousness seeping through his body and making him feel sweaty. But he couldn't remain silent anymore. He'd come forward and told the Blood Elf woman just how he felt about her. And whether she was happy to hear that, or appalled...he wasn't quite sure. She hadn't given him an outright "no", but she hadn't exactly said "yes" she felt the same way back either. And that was all he could focus his mind on as he had retired to one of the rooms.

He flopped back on the bed, running a hand through his red hair as he stared at the ceiling. It seemed oddly quiet tonight. Maybe it was because he suddenly felt alone. Maybe it was because he wanted to go back downstairs, find Thanuist and stay by her side. As if doing so would suddenly make everything better for everyone. But, the young Troll knew it didn't work like that. For all he knew, Thanuist could be creeped out by him at this point. She could want nothing to do with him, and simply acted nice for the remainder of their "date".

Is that what it was? Or was it just a friendly outing?

Thanuist had sure been admitting a lot about her life for it to just be some casual outing with a friend. And how could he forget the ring?

He slid his hand from his hair and down his face until his fingers played with the rough edge of his left tusk. The one that had been broken earlier in his life. He felt his heart sink, as if some black goo had suddenly enveloped the inside of his chest. There was another Blood Elf who had "proposed" to Thanuist. Melikar wasn't sure who it was but...did he really have to know? Thanuist had said it was just a joke. It didn't stop him from suddenly feeling like all hope was lost though.

Sitting up, he unbuttoned the rest of his shirt until it came loose. Tossing it haphazardly on the floor, he began to undo the belt on his pants when he suddenly caught sight of himself in a mirror above a vanity. He knew he'd never been the best looking thing but, god, was he that ugly? No wonder Thanuist wanted nothing to do with him. He had these..huge, ugly tusks protruding from his mouth, a face longer than a horse and hair the would just *stand* there no matter what you did with it. Not to mention he was always hunched over, his lanky arms hanging to his knees, his big...two-toed feet.

Quickly turning away, he rid himself of the pants as well, crawling into the bed and refusing to even glance at the mirror anymore.

The Blood Elf woman he admired so...she was soft and pretty...her fiery hair matching her attitude. And her eyes...something about their green glow was a lot more inviting than other Sin'Dorei he ran into. He smiled as he imagined her with him, laying beside him. His fingers tracing over her delicate skin, or the soft touch of her head as it would rest on his bare chest...

He closed his eyes, feeling sleep beginning to overcome him. And as it did, it felt like the black goo inside him from earlier had gone away, leaving a gaping hole in it's place. One that desired more than anything to be filled.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
((Note, possibly a little graphic for the squeemish))

Tha’nuist’s small shoulders heaved a sigh as she backed away from the balcony and returned to her room. The small vanity against the wall caught her eye, and she paused a moment to stare at her reflection. As she stared, her eyes and imagination began to play tricks on her.
A blue hand appeared on her shoulder with its owner following it with her next blink. Flaming hair more vibrant than her own and thick tusks brought a smile to the elf’s face. Her small hand went up to her shoulder to touch the blue one, but all she grasped was air.
She blinked her bright green eyes again and the figure was gone. Tha’nuist shook her head and swore under her breath.

As if he would do that. You scared him off well enough earlier. He’s not going to eb stupid and come back for round two.
Her lavender nightgown trailed behind her as she made her way to the silver chair of the vanity. She dropped into it in a very unladylike manner and picked up a brush. The black boar bristles gleamed in the magical glow of the room.
Bringing the brush to her head, Tha’nuist fell deeply into thought as she pulled the bristles through her shiny crimson hair.


Gold and crimson hair mingled together on the soft white sheets. The young girl, owner of the red hair, stifled a sob as she lay clutching the sheets in her hands. The figure next to her sighed deeply in content before sitting up. The fair skin of his back glistened with sweat as he sat at the edge of the bed and gathered his belonging. He quickly dressed and made his way to the door. Pausing for a moment, he turned back and sneered at the girl.

“Don’t sob like a child. You should be honored that someone such as myself would find a wench like you worth my time.”

The elven man quickly strode out and closed the door behind him. When she was sure the coast was clear, the young female elf quickly dressed and went to make the rumpled bed. Her heart quickened in panic as she saw the bloodstains on the sheets. Quickly tearing them off the bed, she ran to the fire and tossed the sheets in. Tears streamed down her face as she collapsed to her knees and watched the fire burn bright blue from the magic of the sheets.

The man’s persistence in taking advantage of her continued for weeks, then months. Every time he visited, she would be left with bruises on the outside to hide and a pain that spread from her thighs to her core. His venomous words chiseled away the remains of her emotional defenses, and she was beginning to believe every hurtful word he said to her.

The young girl soon ceased to care about her appearance. Her once lustrous locks of hair became brittle and matted as she began refusing meals and forgetting to bathe. Members of the order who had never felt the need to reprimand her often found themselves punishing her in ways they had never imagined. The few who were actually concerned with her welfare feared the depression that gripped her would soon take her completely.

One bright morning as the first meal was being served, an older priest with graying black hair sat next to the girl and gripped her shoulder.

“Tha’nuist, you must eat something,” the woman crooned as she pushed the bowl of steaming oats closer to the girl.

“I’m not hungry. Stomach hurts,” Tha’nuist quietly responded as she stared blankly at the bowl. “It always hurts in the morning.” She was oblivious to the look of shock that was spreading across the old woman’s face.

“Not another one… Well, we’ll fix you just like we have every other girl,” the priestess sharply stated. “Now that there’s life you must certainly eat for you own good.”

“Life… I’m going to have a baby?” The girl looked up at the other woman with a joy that had been absent from her face for a long time. “Someone to love me the way I love them? How soon? Oh, I can’t wait!” Tha’nuist jumped up from the table and ran towards the bathhouse.

My own baby to hug, and bathe, and dress in cute clothes. I cannot let myself go the way I have. First I’ll wash my hair, then make something that’s actually good to eat.

Later in the day, the older woman found Tha’nuist once again. She shook her head sadly as she watched the girl happily go about her chores. Her shaking hand nearly spilled the cup of purple liquid that she was carrying.
“Tha’nuist, I’ve brought you something to drink,” the graying priestess distantly stated. She prayed that the girl would turn it down as she watched her set down the broom and come over to take the cup from her. She could not bear to watch as the girl gladly gulped the cool drink down.

The woman returned with an arm of towels sometime later as the girl’s screams rang through the dormitory.

Tha’nuist was violently pulling the brush through her hair as tears streamed down her face. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a flash of golden hair. She turned quickly and gasped as a figure appeared in the doorway of the balcony.

She quickly rose and lunged at the Sin’Dorei man. Pleasure coursed through her as she smashed the backside of her brush against Kardwel’s head. Adrenaline gave her strength beyond imagination as she pushed the paladin out of the door and off the side of the railing. With a satisfying thud ringing in her ears, Tha’nuist glared down at the man. The fall was short enough to only seriously hurt his pride. A smile spread across her face as she returned inside and promptly shut and locked the balcony door
Quickly walking away from the other people he should've been calling "the tribe", Kardwel tried to get a grip on himself. The taste of blood still mingled in his mouth.

"Get a hold on yourself, you damn fool! You're weak, just like you've always been told!"

Breathing in, and slowly letting his breath out, the blond elf visibly relaxed. He closed his eyes and tried hard to bring himself to some kind of peace. Feeling physically exhausted, he reached into his pocket, withdrawing a gold-tinted flask. Opening the lid, he took a nice gulp of the refreshing liquid. Noticing the flask was feeling light, he noted that he'd have to stop at the bank and pick up some more drink.

Shoving the flask back where it came from, he hefted the Hammerfall axe over his shoulder and started to think of his mission. That is what was important here. Not his emotions. Since he was in Orgrimmar, he figured he should stop by the bank, pick up his horse from the stables and get a move on. He walked how the stone-shaped paths towards the bank, many others passing by on their way in.

A tauren with a large gun slung over his shoulder plodded by on a huge kodo, a Troll just beginning to understand the basics of mage work was lighting his hands on fire, and a Blood Elf women sped past him on a beautiful Hawkstrider. Stepping into the bank in question, Kardwel met the eyes of the Orc in charge of this day's transactions.

"What can I get ya?" the Orc asked, not pausing to let Kardwel get the first word in.

Kardwel gave the Orc a look, but dug a piece of parchment from his pocket. Showing it to the banker, he took note of the number and went over to a rack of keys on the side of the room. Grabbing one, he came over and placed the key in Kardwel's hand.

"You have mail, by the way." The orc grunted.

Keeping that in mind, Kardwel walked over to his vault and opened it, seeing just what he needed. Grabbing a phial of water-like liquid from inside, he closed the door and quickly gave the key back to the banker.

The Orc quickly whisked the key off the desk and tossed it in a box to be sorted later. Kardwel waited as the Orc picked up an envelope off his desk and handed it over. Snatching it from the Orc without so much as a thank you, Kardwel left the bank.

Stepping out of the door way and emptying the phial into the flask, Kardwel quickly ridded himself of the no longer useful phial, throwing it in a nearby trash bin. The phial actually missed and landed awkwardly next to the trash bin, in which the Blood Elf didn't even stop to pick it up. He the proceeded to tear open the letter he'd received. It was from Saevel, one of his tribe "mates". He then proceeded to read what he'd been sent:


I understand your anger and the need to have an outlet for that. But you are going about it all wrong. As a Warlock, it is part of my research to understand pain and suffering. That being the case, I have some understanding in this area.

Anger is a powerful weapon if applied properly...namely towards one's enemies. You should use it to crush them...not distance yourself from those whom you should call friend, or at least an ally. While many of them are not Sin'Dorei, it does not and cannot aid you where you need it.

If you wish to know how to properly channel that anger into a weapon that will assist you...then seek me out. Our people understand what true pain is. And as such, we know how to apply that accordingly.

Saevel Amalith

Feeling suddenly very put off at how this other Elf could even begin to comprehend, without a second thought, Kardwel crumpled the letter and tossed it to the trash. Unlike the phial, this made it in. Seek out the help of a Summoner? Shaking his head Kardwel had no intention of ever doing such a thing. No one was going to know. *No one*.

Finishing his readying duties then, he headed to the stables. The shorter he was in this city, the better he'd feel.

Entering the area in question, Kardwel was suddenly taken aback by the putrid smells of various animals and animal waste that greeted his senses. There was an Orc woman here he stepped forward, dirt covering her pants and flecking her shirt.

"What's up?" She asked, stepping forward.

"Uhm..." Kardwel began, clearly giving her a disgusted look.

"I'm here to...get my horse."

Kardwel glanced around at the floor and near his feet, as if afraid he'd somehow stepped in a pile of the revolting goo. This whole place gave him goosebumps.

"Name?" the female orc questioned.

"Anastarian." Kardwel muttered, now looking up, thinking about just how strong the supports where in this place. Where those spider webs he saw?

The orc woman turned and walked away, leaving Kardwel to think even more about the disgusting building he was in and just how badly he wanted to get his *clean* horse and get out of here.

Returning a short time later, the orc woman now had a midnight black horse following her, red and gold cloth draped from it's back. Handing the horse off to him, Kardwel accepted the reigns. He found a few silver and handed them off to the woman before hastily making his exit. Once out of the stable area, Kardwel stopped and looked his steed over. He seemed to be in perfect condition, nothing wrong here.

Slipping a foot into the left stirrup, Kardwel hefted himself on top of the large animal. Anastarian waited patiently until the Blood Elf was sitting comfortably on him before he began moving. Running a hand down the smooth fur of his horse, Kardwel found that he was rather appreciative of him. His mind began to drift back to the few moments before he left the tribe.

Umu had threatened him. Not just threatened, but had physically attacked him.

He'd reacted the only way he knew how and that was by any defense he could find. And it happened to be his axe. It was a good thing Umu had pulled away when he did, or Kardwel knew he would've left quite a cut on the Tauren's arm. He had to admit, that Tauren had some punch. But why should he care? If Umu got hurt, that was his own damn fault. Stupid cow had it coming.

Ura and Rinu had been there too. If Anca had shown up, he would've screamed. He wasn't lying when he told the others he felt like he was playing babysitter. Why where there kids in the tribe anyway? Didn't they belong in some foster home somewhere? At least wait to grow up, geeze.

Realizing he was getting nowhere by dwelling on this, Kardwel started forward finally. He'd make his way to the Hinterlands. It might take him a while, but there was work to be done in so many places. And a lot of people would gladly rely on the services of a paladin for such an order. Kardwel knew he could make the biggest stink he wanted. These people would keep him because they needed him.

And that was all he had to remember. He was needed.

Even as the gates of Orgrimmar faded behind him, Kardwel's mind still went back to those last few moments. He'd never put his heart on his sleeve like that again. That's what nearly got him the first time. These people needed to realize that, in the end, trust and love would mean nothing.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
The sun had just been starting to set over the shimmering docks of Booty Bay when Melikar arrived via the boat from Rachet.

He'd left Orgrimmar early that morning and had made it safely across the seas by now. He'd been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks and was starting to come to a realization. He was a Troll, but he'd never so much as made an opportunity to be with his own kind. Mainly fearing that he wouldn't fit in there either no matter how hard he tried. Most Trolls hated Night Elves, and going around spouting that he was raised by one wouldn't win him any votes, that was for sure.

A stable hand was removing animals by their reigns from the lower deck of the vessel and handing them off to their owners. Melikar's Frost Wolf, Misto, had just exited the hold. Thanking the stable hand, Melikar climbed atop the saddle of the dog-like creature, pressing his legs into the animal's sides giving it the indication to move forward. Though no Darkspear's remained in Stranglethorn Vale, Melikar had heard of another friendly tribe that resided here. The Zandalari tribe was present in the far northern reaches of the jungle, and they would do anything to stop the Hakkari trolls from bringing back their so-called "god".

Though many used to venture into Zul'Gurub to stop the armies of Hakkar, many of the forces in question had begun backing off. The Hakkari now were a much smaller threat than they'd been a few years ago. And with the portal opening, all eligible fighters had gone off to Outlands to help the people there. Still, the Hakkari hadn't made anymore moves since that time and the Zandalari seemed to be living in a sort of peace. Though, Melikar knew the Zandalari would never be at peace until the Hakkari were rid of entirely.

A few days ago, he'd gone back to the coast of Sen'jin, visiting Master Gadrin. He was really beginning to feel lost and had no idea where else to go. If your own people didn't feel familiar to you, who would? The closest thing he had to a family at this point was those in Ironsong. Once again, he realized how they treated him no different than if he'd been raised by his own kind. And once again, he realized how appreciative he was of that. But there had been something else nagging at him. Something that ran much deeper, and that was his heritage...his culture...his blood.

He was a Darkspear Troll, and as much as Ironsong felt like family, they weren't all Darkspears like he was. He'd never had a coming of age ceremony like most other Trolls had. The Darkspears also had certain rituals for astounding victories in battle, marriage, even having kids. All of which he'd never seen nor was ever sure he'd be a part of. He had to go back to his roots here, immerse himself in his people and be at one with them as if he'd never left. He felt that was the only thing that would fill what was so empty inside him. Looking up at the darkening sky, obscured by large leaf trees, Melikar's mind flashed an image before him.

Maybe it wasn't so much missing out on his heritage that made him empty and feel alone. Maybe it was because he WAS alone. But he didn't want to be. He wanted...her...to love him. Maybe then he wouldn't feel so out of it. He realized he'd been traveling for a while now and was beginning to come up on the path that led to Grom'Gol.

Gadrin hadn't been much help. He simply told Melikar to seek the council of Vol'jin. So he had. Back to Orgrimmar he went, into Thrall's quarters and found the great Troll he'd been looking for. And you know what Vol'jin told him? In all his wisdom he simply said:

"Ja be findin' da answer when it meant ta be found."

Of course, he'd also said it in their native tongue, but whether that was supposed to hold some significance or not...Melikar didn't know. Vol'jin had then mentioned the Zandalar Tribe, saying they were still in Stranglethorn and it might be a good idea to seek them out. Even though he said it with a touch of sarcasm, Melikar had left anyway.

Coming upon Grom'gol, the red-haired Troll took a right and headed off along the coast line. He'd never been to the Yojamba isles before. Matter of fact, he'd never met a Zandalari Troll ever in his life. He wondered what they would think of him. He hoped they were at least somewhat impressed by his look of a warrior and the armor he wore. The axe slung over his back, his many tokens of victory on the battle field. You'd be crazy not to like some of that! Spotting the isles in the distance, Melikar noticed he'd have to swim the rest of the way.

Dismounting off Misto, he found a nearby tree protruding from the beach's sands. Tying the reigns securely, he gave the wolf a firm pat before heading towards the ocean. The white wolf, glanced at him as he walked away, a look of wonder spreading over the creature's face. He looked to be thinking, asking Melikar if he'd come back. Noticing this, Melikar gave the wolf a reassuring grin before stepping into the warm jungle ocean water.

Swimming with plate armor was no easy task, but after months of wearing the stuff and fighting in the style he did, he was more than ready for it. Besides, the isles were not that far from here. As he neared them, they seemed to be empty. Troll huts lined the water's edge, but they seemed unoccupied. Stepping onto the beach of the first island, Melikar slowly glanced around. Not a sound was to be heard except the waves lapping against the shore and a slight breeze in the air. He took a few cautious steps forward, ready to reach for his axe at any given moment.

But no threats were forthcoming. He took a few more slow steps towards the huts, wondering if he should keep going or just leave. After all, how could he fit in if he wasn't even comfortable here? He then heard a sound that made him jump, nearly scaring the skin off of him.

"Now dere's a face Ah haven't seen in ye'ahs!"

Spinning around, Melikar's hand flew to the hilt of his axe seeing a Troll witch-doctor standing before him. He wore a wooden mask that covered his whole face, very similar to other common witch-doctor masks. But this one had different markings on it than the usual Darkspear markings.

"Wha'ss wit' da look?" the witch-doctor asked, "Ja know what everyone be sayin' when dey find out ja come back?"

Melikar shook his head.

"Ah t'ink ja be confusin' me wit' someone else."

The witch-doctor lifted his mask off, squinting his eyes a bit and seeming to scrutinize Melikar, sizing him up. Melikar realized this Troll was much older than he was. Possibly somewhere in the 50-year range. The witch-doctor stepped forward, his face expressionless.

Melikar wasn't sure to say something or to excuse himself and leave.

"Nah," the witch-doctor then said, "But Ah still be mistaken."

He then brushed past Melikar as if the younger Troll suddenly didn't matter.

"Ah couldn' tell from a distance," the Witch-doctor spoke, his accent thick, "But...ja looked a lotta like."

Now Melikar was just curious.

"Like who?" he questioned.

The witch-doctor turned, grinning slightly, but not out of amusement.

"Ah have ta admit..."

Melikar's look changed. What was he grinning about?

"Sah Vol'jin be right when he come ta me about ja. Ah didn't t'ink Ah'd know da day when ja showed up. But he be right..."

The older Troll shrugged.

"...ja be da spittin' image a' ja faddah."
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
Blood stained her hands and the floor around her. A pain that rocked her to the core pulsated through her abdomen and brought tears to her bright green eyes. Closing her eyes as a tear formed, Tha'nuist wished it would all go away. When she opened her eyes again everything was gone. She stared at her clean hands as the ache in her belly moved to her heart.

No more... I'm getting my baby back

The elf quickyl stood and burshed herself off. Quickly striding toward the door she grabbed her door key and silently made her way towards Murder Row.


Lusty green eyes stared at her as she made her way through Murder Row. Pickup lines and eager hands followed her into the small bar in a secluded corner of the street. Tha'nuist brushed them off, unimpressed with every specimen that presented itself. The toothy white haired bartender eagerly took her order and winked at her as he mixed it up.

The small woman shrugged her shoulders as she took her drink and turned to face the main area of the bar. hands and lips brushed each other all over the place. Scantily dressed women with greasy locks tried to pull patrons into secret corners while the men in question refused to tear their eyes away from the elven woman at the bar.

Tha'nuist ignored the pathetic prostitutes as her eyes darted from man to man. She settled on a fairly cleana nd well dressed hunter sitting off by himself in the corner. Leaving her drink at the counter, the woman weaved her way through the sea of pinching fingers to the red haired hunter and bent over to stare into his eyes. Smiling a bit as she watched his eyes move lower, she took his hand and pulled him back toward her flat.

The next morning he emerged a very happy man. Every night Tha'nuist repeated her trek, and every morning one or two Sin'dorei men emerged quite satisfied.

After a wild night with a wealthy and skilled warlock and his succubus, Tha'nuist left her home ready for a new challenge.

None of them will do. I need someone with actual skills

A small smirk spread across her face as she headed towards the orb of translocation in the heart of Silvermoon. Placing a small hand up to it, the young woman concentrated on the image of the damp and gloomy Undercity. As she stared into the orb a figure appeared behind her. Kardwel's sneering face reflectin at her made the elf jump and she quickly turned to face the Paladin. Behind him another Blood Knight appeared.

"You should be honored..."

Tha'nuist felt her knees give out as her world went black.

A melodic voice hummed in her ear as Tha'nuist slowly opened her eyes. A woman of identical looks smiled softly at her as she stared up in wonder.

"Mother?" her voice croaked as she began panting, smiling, and crying all at the same time. Seh'nuist shook her head slowly as she let go of her daughter.

"It's not yet time for either."
Tha'nuist fell back and felt her back arch. Every color of the rainbow swirled around her as she heard the sound of Melikar and the others yelling at each other. The familiar spell of ressurrection whooshed in her ear. As it ended she felt herself be pulled back faster. The scene in the guild hall began appearing around her. She watched the scene unfold and shook her head in confusion.

How did I end up here? I was in Silvermo-

Before she could finish her thought her world went black again.

The sound of grutteral exchanges woke Tha'nuist from her sleep. She rubbed her eyes and yawned as she came to in Orgrimmar. Frowning slightly she looked around and spotted a red haired troll flopped across the side of the bed.


Jumping out of bed the woman made her way to the mirror to comb her hair and freshen up. Tha'nuist scowled in disgust at her greasy appearence.

"For Quel'thala's sake, how long have I been asleep?" she mumbled as she pulled a comb out of her pocket and straightened her hair. She stared at her reflection for a moment before her eyes widened in horror. Behind her the two Blood Knights appeared once more.

When Melikar awoke he would find himself in an empty room.
Melikar stared at the sand, a small black bug skittering across the spot.

The bug moved on, but his eyes remain where they were. His hands in his lap, his shoulders slumped...he probably looked like he had seen better days. The older Troll turned around and looked him over, speaking in a rather quiet tone.

"Ja got da bad mojo look about ja, mon."

Melikar didn't move, just remained sitting, his eyes still to the ground. He sat in a shaded hut just off the coast, resting on the stairs to be specific. The older Troll had been looking out towards the ocean, and had since turned around to look at Melikar.

"Dis ain' bad news, ja know dat right?" The older troll then asked.

Melikar shook his head.

"Nah, ja mean besides da fact dat Ah been lied ta mah whole life?"

The Witch Doctor nodded.

"Ah know, dat can be confusin' huh?"

Melikar leaned back, running a hand down his face, sliding over his tusks. When he removed his hand, he closed his eyes and glanced down.

"So...lemme get dis straight." He looked up, breathing in as if not believing it.

The Witch Doctor simply folded his arms and waited.

"Ja sayin'...dat Ah'm not...a Darkspe'ah, correct?" He glanced back, not looking the witch doctor in the eyes.

The older Troll nodded, his face straight.

"An'...Ah'm Zandalari?" Melikar made a waving motion with his hand as if to fully understand that, yes, he wasn't of Darkspear decent.

"Dat be right, mon." The witch doctor replied, "Ja fatha an' ja motha be Zandalari. When da humans be runnin' t'rough ja village way back den, dey be upsettin' a lot mo'ah den jus' Darkspe'ah terro'try."

Melikar looked forward again. First he was raised by a Night Elf, being raised in a setting he didn't know would be torn from him. Next, he lives among people he thinks are his kin, when in fact, they haven't been. This whole time he could've been out here. With his real people. But then...if he'd never gone to the Horde like he had, he would never have been in Ironsong...never met the people he called friends, never would've worked to save their lives or hear their stories...never would've met Thanuist...

This was all a bit too much for him. He certainly found his place though, no one could argue with that.

"Ah got somet'in' ta show ja." The witch doctor then spoke up. "Ja come wit' me."

Melikar stood, not sure what this was about. He followed the Witch doctor down the hut and out towards the village proper. He could see smoke rising from the center of the village, most likely the common fire.

"By da way," Melikar spoke up, "Ja didn' tell me ja name."

The Witch doctor glanced back at him for a moment, before turning to look forward again.


Melikar nodded a bit, still following Exzhal's bent frame towards the village proper. They entered the area in question where a group of Zandalari trolls sat about, talking rather quickly in their native tongue. They seemed to be quite worked up about something. Melikar heard a few harsh words here and there as a large pot sat over the fire. It seemed that as the crackles in the fire grew, so did the heated words. Exzhal sighed, looking like he'd seen this more than once and was growing tired of it. He straightened up as if he were going to get right into the argument with the rest of them, but a large, booming voice silenced them all.


The talking ceased at once, every Zandalari head turning to a rather tall Troll, blue armor running down his long body. His white mohawk looked like it had seen better days, but he looked to be rather in charge of the situation. This troll was not looking at the group of arguers, but at Melikar instead.

"We...have a guest..." his voice spoke, much quieter.

All the Zandalari turned, looking at whatever this white-marked Troll was looking at. Melikar's eyes flicked around to each of them, a sudden look of awe coming across many of their faces. No one spoke for a moment, then one of the younger looking trolls near the back stepped forward.

"Ja cut ja hai'ah!"

He then fell to his knees and bowed low, a smile on his face.

"I'ss good ta have ja back, Zio!"

Exzhal swung a foot at the troll on the ground.

"Get up! "E ain' no Zio!"

The larger troll from before stepped forward as the troll who'd been occupying the ground stood and backed away hastily.

"Ja be...Melikah?" The wiser troll asked.

Melikar nodded, still feeling a bit out of place in his armor among all these people who were now supposedly his tribe.

"Ah'm Molthor, leadah a' dis he'ah outfit."

Molthor glanced at the others around him.

"Ah aplogize fo'ah what ja be runnin' inta. Da Hakkari always be given us a bad time. Since da Dark Portal opened, we not have as many able bodied people ta go in dere and do ou'ah biddin'. It can create a lotta...stress."

The trolls who'd been arguing looked suddenly ashamed of themselves. Nevertheless, Molthor turned back to look at Melikar.

"Da Horde nevah be knowin' dat ja was a Zandalari. Dey be t'inkin' ja Darkspe'ah like da rest a' 'em when dey firs' be seein' ja. But guess who find out whe'ah ja be from?"

He laughed a bit.

"Vol'jin be discoverin' who ja be. He consulted da spirits, realized ja fatha be someone 'e respected. Turns out, ja fatha be one a' da best witch doctah's we evah had. He often be comin' wit' me ta Zuldazah ta talk wit' da otha trolls 'bout life an' such."

Melikar sighed.

"I'ss not like dat be helpin' me much." He explained, "Ah'm not mah fatha, Ah ain' no witch doctah. Ah be a warri'ah...dat's whe'ah Ah felt best."

"Not'in wrong wit' a warri'ah." Molthor stated, giving a shrug.

"An' mah fatha be dead anyway." Melikar said, narrowing his eyes a bit, "Maybe Ah just be lookin' like someone ja know."

Molthor's eyes widened a bit, turning to look back at his Zandalari brethren with a smile on his face. The other Zandalari gave him a look, as if they were in on a big secret Melikar had no idea about. Molthor then turned back to the younger troll, a look of satisfaction on his face.

"Nah...Melikah, ja fatha...he's alive. La'ss saw him 'bout a month ago. E's out dere somewhe'ah."

Melikar felt an elation in his chest at that. His father? Alive?

"Wh...whe'ah did he go?" he asked, his eyes now holding a sign of desperation. "He nevah came back fo'ah me?"

"I'ss not like he knew ja..." Exzhal spoke up. "Aftah ja town be raided, ja fatha be out a' it fo'ah about six months. If he wasn't such a good with doctah, we migh' notta even saved him. Times be tough. But den one day, outta da blue, he jus' wake up. An' den we find out he not rememberin' not'in!"

Exzhal looked rather disgusted as he said this.

"'E couldn' remembah any a' da trainin' 'e went t'rough ta become a witch doctah, didn' remembah all da healin' he did fo'ah us..." he hesitated, his voice dropping a bit, "...didn' remembah 'e had a son..."

Melikar stood there, an odd silence falling over the area.

"We be tellin' him about ja." Molthor said, "Ah t'ink he went off ta find ja aftah all dese ye'ahs."

"Ah'll tell ja what," Melikar then spoke up, "If Ah get mah friends tagetha ta help wit' dem Hakkari dat been bein' ignored, den ja consult mah fatha t'rough da spirits...let 'im know Ah'm he'ah."

Molthor, Exzhal and many of the other trolls looked rather happy with this prospect. Then Molthor spoke again.

"Da Hakkari be no easy task," he stated, "Ja gonna need a lot mo'ah den a few friends."

Melikar then reached under his tabard and withdrew a silver pendent. It was of a hammer, set over the small backdrop of an anvil.

"We be da Ironsong Tribe..." he spoke, "We might as well be an army."

Molthor nodded.

"Alrigh', if ja t'ink da...Ironsong Tribe can handle it, Ah leave it ta ja. Ja fatha had brains, Ah expect dat ta get passed along."

Melikar shoved the pendent back under his tabard, saluting Molthor all the while.

"Ja won' be sorry."
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He stood at the balcony, looking out over the large lawn before him. Grass splayed out for yards, the shadows of the trees cutting across like dark knives. The moon was showing rather bright tonight. He smiled to himself, feeling a sudden exciting pulsation run through his chest, once more thinking of her.

His arms slipped from the balcony. Running a hand through his hair, he turned to head inside the door-way, his bed lying there. He figured tomorrow would probably come sooner if he just slept. Crawling into the warm covers, he threw them over his bare stomach, leaving his chest open to the warm, night air. It wouldn't be too long now...


There was a sudden scream. Opening his eyes, he glanced around. He suddenly felt very tired, the feeling in question waring off quickly as he heard more commotion. He stumbled out of the bed and to the balcony. The night was still in progress, but this time what he saw horrified him.

She was being chased, a large abomination-type creature running after her. He was suddenly filled with panic as he screamed at her to run. Why couldn't he get off this damn balcony!? She let out a yell. Was she calling for him? He didn't care anymore. Jumping, he landed in a pit of movement.

Undead creatures were rising from the earth, the sounds of battle apparent all around him. Where was she? He had to find her! Running, he looked around wildly for her, seeing no sign. The sounds of guards dying, bones crunching and undead howls were taking over his senses. He lost control of his footing and found himself falling to the ground. Death poisoned the very ground he lay upon. It was lost...all was lost...

He glanced up then, feeling like there was someone watching him. Were they trying to help? No...off in the distance, on the edge of the battle field stood another being, like him. Red hair falling to just past his shoulders, arms crossed, his eyes just staring.


Kardwel awoke with a start. He quickly sat up, a light covering of sweat slowly making it's way down his body. He shuddered, trying to stay in control of himself. It was the same as before.

Horrid images that haunted him were coming back all too quickly. The more he heard about the path North being opened, the worse his nightmares became. But there was always that one other Sin'dorei. In every dream, no matter where it was, that red-headed elf was in every one. Just as he was thinking this, Kardwel suddenly felt a searing pain flash through his head. Smacking his hand to his forehead, he bent over slightly, gritting his teeth and trying not to make any noise. He didn't need any stupid inn keepers questioning him.

Feeling it pass, he slowly lowered his hand. Things would have to change soon. He had no idea why he would always wake up and suddenly feel pain whenever these things happened. Sighing, he closed his glowing eyes and flopped back into the bed. It must've been some time in the early morning. He wasn't sure he'd be getting much more sleep tonight. Regardless, he turned over and tried wrapping the covers around him tighter. He never cared for these goblin beds.

He'd much rather be in a Sin'dorei bed, the silk-like sheets covering him, surrounded by the beautiful, royal blue curtains. Not to mention he found himself in Winterspring tonight. They had more pathetic work here that needed doing. He didn't have much of a choice but to accept the offers. But he made sure they knew he wasn't happy with it.

Calming down a bit, he tried to once more focus his mind on sleep. The morning always came too early.
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It was rather quiet in the heart of Silvermoon on this early fall evening. The trees here seemed to look orange and yellow year-round, but the colors of the leaves had grown richer and darker. They were slowly falling off, just beginning to signify the coming winter.

And with the thought of winter, Melikar suddenly once more found his mind thinking about Northrend. It wouldn't be too long now before he and the rest of the tribe embarked on a journey to those frozen wastelands. Perhaps they would even meet the dread Lich King himself. He was hearing more and more news, nearly every day about how the leaders of the Alliance and the Horde were making their final plans to move forward. Give it about a month, he guessed. And to top it all off, he was also hearing that the Lich King's knights, known as Death Knights, were actually going to be roaming their streets.

Not as nemesis', but as actual allies to them. The ways of Arthas' powers were being captured, hopefully to do a better good. Melikar even wondered how he would be as a Death Knight. But a quick thought to his Forsaken friends and the idea suddenly lost all its appeal. He would never turn his back on the tribe or do anything to hurt them. His hand moved to his chest of its own accord, finding the Ironsong pendant that resided there. He really hoped all the others would remember to wear all theirs.

Sighing, he found himself entering the inn at Murder Row. Being here brought back sudden memories of Thanuist. The last time they'd spent some real time together. He frowned slightly, remembering the conversation and Thanuist's strange attitude and her sudden disappearance shortly thereafter. Come to think of it, he hadn't seen her in a while. Not at moots or in Ironsong's adventures in Outland. The last time he really remembered seeing her was in the guild hall and she had no memory of ever acting weird.

He made his way up stairs, finding a spare room with a comfortable looking bed. He had to give the Blood Elves credit for that. He walked over to the bed in question, taking off pieces of the plate armor that covered his lanky body. As he continued undressing, he wondered when he would see the fiery-haired elf again. He still wondered if she would ever accept him.

Avoiding a look into the mirror that hung on the opposite wall, Melikar practically dove into the covers, wrapping them around himself in his tired body's joy. He closed his eyes, but thoughts kept keeping his mind racing. Thanuist, Zul'Gurub, his father....

His eyes opened. He hadn't heard any more news of his father either. Just that he'd left the Yojamba Isles and went off. Melikar really did hope he could see his father before going to Northrend. To be honest, he wasn't sure what awaited him or his friends there. He didn't want to be negative, but there was always the chance...

Shaking his head, Melikar sighed and relaxed himself. Tomorrow would be better. He would make sure of that.
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A cold dark hand thrust itself out from underneath a bloodstained cloak. The boney finger began tracing the shapes of ancient, evil symbols. Those symbols soon shone blue and illuminated the unmarked grave that lay before the figure. The one who lay here had made an effort that had not gone unnoticed.
Decayed teeth emerged in a grin as the figure admired his work. The dead trees and grayed ground frosted over as the light from the runes touched them. The gravestone too turned to ice and shattered when the stranger gave it a swift kick.
“Get out of the ground already! Come serve you master!” the horse voice yelled at the grave. IN response, the frozen ground beneath his quivered and began to upturn. A skeletal hand pushed its way from the dirt and flailed aimlessly in the air. The figure above it sighed and took hold. One quick yank brought the rest of the corpse out of his earthy home.
“Well, you’re not going to be much use looking like that,” the dark one, sighed as he looked over the fleshless skeleton. He held his hand out in front of him and mumbled to himself. A glowing white run appeared on his palm. As he concentrated flesh began to cover the skeleton. Grayed lungs appeared form thin air and began filling in the empty ribcage. Glowing green eyes filled the long deadeye sockets of the skull. Flesh stretched and squelched over the bones, then plumped as muscle filled out underneath. “Much better, in my opinion at least. Now you look halfway presentable.”
The bluish elven corpse shuddered in response and moved a stiff hand to cover a newly regrown nether region. Green eyes filled with anger and hate set themselves on the figure before it. The elf snarled and lunged. The dark figured sighed again and snapped his fingers.
The reanimated corpse stumbled and looked around in bewilderment. The scenery had changed. No longer were they in the eerie Ghostlands, but an icy castle. Others stood around him looking just as confused. Hunched over creatures in black cloaks scurried between them handing out clothing and weapons to the naked corpses. Before the elf could react, a robe and sword were thrust into his hands. He quickly dressed himself, prodded by an urge he couldn’t understand. Once dressed he admired the weapon he had been given. Before he could really take it all in, a horn sounded and he was urged forward with the others.
“Welcome, servants, to your new home. Whatever the Lich King instructs, you will do!”
((Totally wrote this last minute))

Swirling the glass in his hands, Kardwel leaned against a wall, his eyes peering around the room for the red-haired troll. Any minute now...

He put the glass too his mouth, the sweet smell of the champagne intoxicating his senses for a moment before he took a sip. He glanced off to his right, seeing the large troll frame approaching him.

"About time you showed up." Kardwel said, outstretching his arm so the glass placed upon a seemingly floating Sin'Dorei surface.

Melikar shrugged.

"What ja want?"

Kardwel didn't look at Melikar as he spoke.

"Your little girlfriend..." he hesitated, "Do you know how she's been getting known around here?"

Melikar's eyes darted towards the bar area, seeing a few elves who'd had one too many drinks. He then shrugged.

"What about it?"

Kardwel stopped, his head slowly turning to look at the troll.

"You know?" he asked, a slight raise of the eyebrow and an inclination of his head showing he was...somewhat surprised.

Melikar sighed slightly.

"Yes an' no..." he muttered, "Ah've been hearin' t'ings but...Ah dunno. She nevah like meh ta begin wit' Ah gotta learn to let it go."

He dug around in his pocket for a second, pulling a few pieces of parchment out and giving them a few once overs. These documents were of no use to him.

"Well, there goes my black mail plan." Kardwel said, snatching the glass back up and downing the rest of the golden liquid there. He shoved himself off the wall and quickly started walking away.

"The fact that you'd let such a reputation happen among a tribe member surprises me. If she gets known that way, won't she be saying something about all of us?"

He turned then, giving Melikar one last glance.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have matters in Hellfire to attend to."

Melikar noticed the blond elf said this with some matter of pride. Great, he'd be having to deal with Kardwel in Outlands now on top of everything else. And like that, Kardwel was out the door.

He simply shook his head, realizing getting through to Kard wasn't going to help. As he went to exit himself, he noticed something on the floor. A silver flask was sitting stark against the red carpeting here. Picking it up, Melikar realized Kardwel must've dropped it on his way out. He contemplated just throwing it in the trash, but something inside him told him to hang on to it. Stashing it away in his bag, he too left the bar, seeing Kardwel nowhere in sight.

His chest feeling quite heavy, his mind distracted, he too walked off down the street in Silvermoon, not knowing if he'd ever feel quite like he once did.
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The Halls of the Undercity were dark, they always had that appeal. The undead beings who called this place home had long since given up on making anything in their life too cheery. At least, that was the typical mindset, were you to walk in and have no idea of a Forsaken's past. But one undead woman in particular found herself waiting patiently in her quarters on this evening, reviewing documents from her tribe, going over alchemy recipes and planning her own moves when everyone went North.

A sudden opening of her door made her look up from her tasks. A tall elf with a head of shining, blond hair stood in her doorway, holding a piece of parchment in one hand. She grinned slightly, rather surprised that he'd decided to show up.

"Glad to see you, Kardwel." Dispaya spoke, thin strands of her hair cutting through, over her yellow-tinted eyes.

Kardwel didn't say anything at first, decided to look her over instead.

"I believe you wanted to see me." His voice carried through the room much differently than the softer voice of woman before him. His tone and posture both gave way to the fact that he could care less about being here.

Dispaya noticed this and decided it was best to just get right to the point.

"As you may already know," she calmly began, "The tribe...or, the Horde I should say, will be venturing into the North soon."

She had been busy writing up documents, but now she sought a place to stash away her quill. She, like the rest of the tribe, had noticed Kardwel's rather over-confidence in himself.

"I was going to ask if you thought you were well enough prepared..."

Kardwel crossed his arms, giving her a look that clearly showed what he thought of that.

"Of course I am." he stated as if unable to believe she would think of him as any less, "You think I can't handle what they throw at me?"

Before Dispaya could respond, he let out a chuckle.

"I could give the tribe a run for their money."

Dispaya hesitated.

"And what makes you think that?" Her voice remained calm, even though Kardwel might as well have been throwing needles at her.

The elf then gave her an slight glare.

"I can shield myself." He answered, "With my magic I can heal myself, I can steal arcane torrent from other creatures. Sounds like a good enough defense to me."

The Lady only nodded slightly.

"We'll see." she said, standing from her seat. Moving forward, she quickly brushed past Kardwel out into the dark hallway.

"Follow me."

It wasn't an offer.

Figuring she was wasting his time, Kardwel sighed and swung his body to follow her. Dispaya made very little talk as they went down the stone encased halls, turning here or there, moving more in the direction of where their dungeons were held. She didn't quite go that far, however. She stopped at one door and opened it, stepping just inside. Kardwel followed her in and she closed the door behind him. Kardwel was glad she hadn't been saying much. She was always trying to one-up him or make him a fool in front of the others. And that really made him wonder about why he'd shown himself here to begin with.

Dispaya reached above the handle, turning a large knob there. A click echoed in the room as the door locked. Kardwel looked around. The room was covered in stone just as the halls had been, circular and small. The only thing providing light were the torches mounted on the walls. Nothing else occupied the room. He then turned to look at Dispaya.

"What are we doing here?" he asked.

He had enough of a hard time trusting the Forsaken as it were, now he had to be locked in a room with one?

Dispaya slowly turned.

"Training." she stated, as if that explained everything.

Kardwel laughed.

"Yeah right, if I'm going to be training, it'll be with other paladins." His laughter ended, his face turning serious. "Not with you."

Dispaya glared slightly, a sardonic smirk of her own crossing her features.

"You really think you can protect yourself from anything?"

Her hand opened, flames dancing in her palm. She saw Kardwel's body jump slightly, satisfaction beginning to fill her. "Let me tell you, *elf*" she spat, "If I blasted you with everything I had, you'd be a burnt crisp on the ground before you even had time to throw on a shield."

Kardwel's eyes shifted from her pale face, to her bony hand. He knew she wouldn't outright kill another member of the tribe, but if she was going to test him, he'd do the same right back.

"I'm not too scared." he replied with a smug grin.

"Well, I'm glad you face death with such courage!" Dispaya proclaimed, "It'll make it that much easier for them to kill you."

Without waiting for his words, Dispaya put her flaming hand on the stone wall, pressing against it. Kardwel really was beginning to wonder what she was trying to accomplish. He also couldn't help but notice the slight red glow around the undead woman's hand on the rocks that was being created.

"So tell me, Kardwel," she went on, "Do you know what 'forced breathing' is?" She placed a hand on her hip, her face stern, showing she wasn't joking around about any of this.

Kardwel didn't answer. As he looked around the room, he felt like the temperature had increased some. When he remained silent, Dispaya took it as a negative answer.

"It's when your body thinks, somehow, that it's not getting enough air. Basically, the same reaction your body would give you of you were to start drowning."

Kardwel swallowed, his throat suddenly feeling dry. He turned, walking towards the far wall, trying to put off the increasing heat of the room. He placed his hands on the wall, surprised to feel that the stones were quite warm already.

"It's a form of torture." Dispaya continued, the fire burning hotter in her hands "Used by the Burning Legion to watch their enemies squirm. And they want to see ALL of their enemies squirm."

All the rocks along the wall were starting to glow faint red now, the brightest ones closest to Dispaya's hand. Looking down at his own arms, Kardwel noticed the glistening sweat that was starting to form. He felt a wave of heat wash over his body as Dispaya left the wall, using both her hands now aflame to hold before him.

"The Dark Iron Dwarves would also use this technique to torture their prisoners." Dispaya notified him.

Kardwel felt like he was standing in a furnace as more beads of sweat formed on his brow, sliding down his face. He noticed his body tense, the heat wasn't going to let up. As Dispaya stood near him with her now flaming hands, he noticed his intake of air was...quite short. In turn his breathing slowly began to get heavier. His body was slowly starting to become desperate. He was looking around the room, distracted, as if looking for a way out. Dispaya had seen the fear in his eyes.

His hands moved unconsciously to his chest, feeling his breaths coming in longer turns. He tried to keep his breathing under control, but even as he try, he simply couldn't do it.

"Your body starts thinking there is no way out," Dispaya said, "You start feeling trapped,"

Another wave of heat, he could feel sweat gliding over his chest, leaking down his arms almost like blood.

"...like you're not going to make it..."

An image flashed in his mind. For a moment everything was dark, fear running through him as he glanced up. All he could see was his life's end before him. Undead hands clutching weapons, a voice calling for him, his heart screaming at him to do something yet knowing he damn well couldn't...

"...like death would be better..."

He didn't notice as his legs slipped out from under him, his knees jarringly hit the floor. He found himself on all fours, breath coming in ragged gasps. His body wracked as he began going into coughing fits. The panic, regardless of if he wanted it or not, was happening. His heart was now pounding much quicker and harder against his chest, causing him to need more air. Air he couldn't find. Adrenaline seeped into his blood stream, sending signals to the brain to pump more blood, to demand his lungs for more oxygen. By trying to save him, his body was only killing him quicker.

Dispaya crouched down, holding the fire just close enough to continue draining air from around him. Kardwel tried telling her to stop, nearly begging her to. But he didn't even have the voice. This had all happened so quick, he hadn't been given much of a time to react. Much less know what she was going to do. His body convulsed as he let forth some much harsher sounding coughs this time, a sort of tortured gasp escaping him at the same time.

"C'mon Kardwel!" Dispaya yelled above his coughing fits, "You can heal yourself!? You can protect yourself with the light!? Then DO IT!"

His whole body was fluctuating in his breathing now, trying to grab what little air he could. As much as he tried to focus his energy, he knew it would never come to him. This was not a physical fight. She was doing things to him that he couldn't cure.

"You've been a thorn in the tribe's side since the day you were let in! Why do you treat us like we're enemies!? What do you need us for if you're so strong!?

Dispaya's voice increased as she went on. She had this blood elf right where she wanted him. He was weak, completely open for the attack.


Kardwel finally managed to find his voice, the words flowing from him like finger nails on a chalk board.


His back arched as he breathed in another desperate gasp.


And like a light going out, Dispaya closed her hand, the fire disappearing instantly. Almost right away, Kardwel could feel the air returning. Dispaya stood, waving a cooling hand over the room.

"If you're not strong enough to fight against the Burning Legion, what says you're strong enough to destroy Arthas?"

Kardwel didn't answer. He was but a heap on the floor, still trying to calm his body down, still trying to breathe.

"Believe me, Kardwel, there are far worse things they could do then what I have just done. As someone who has been under his power before, I know a thing or two about how he works. I'm not proud of my past mistakes, but I was under his control and I remember it all to well. He would have this done to those who refused to listen to him. And many other methods of painfully dying. Things that made you beg for death within seconds."

With these last words, she turned leaving the Blood Elf right where he was. Opening the door, she glanced back at him.

"And you may want to get a hold on yourself as quickly as you can. You wouldn't want another tribe member to see you in this state, would you?"

Then she was gone.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
It had been a rather long day as Kardwel found himself sitting in a small cafe just off the main road of Silvermoon. Though it had happened nearly three days ago, he remembered his other night with Dispaya all to well. Part of the whole experience had made him angry. She once again was trying to prove she was better than he was.

But another part of him thought...no, it knew she had a point. He found himself suddenly feeling annoyed as he scratched at back of his neck. But it wasn't her he was annoyed with. It was himself. Had he allowed himself to be overtaken like that? She had him on the floor, practically begging for his life. He had never exposed himself as a weakness in that fashion to a tribe member. As a matter of fact, he hadn't exposed himself like that in...

He shook his head, quickly trying to rid the images that started to play like a bad movie across his mind. Though he may have been fighting with himself on the inside, he looked rather calm sitting at a small gold and white etched table. One leg crossed over his knee as he leaned forward, placing an elbow on the table, his chin in his hand. Toying with the ring on a mug of coffee before him, he tried averting his mind to something else.

He found his mind drifting to his Paladin training. He'd gone to Outlands finally, starting his work on taking down what he could of the Burning Legion and their allies. After a good amount of toiling work, he'd received a letter of recommendation from the Silvermoon Blood Knights. Returning here, he had discovered their need for him. They had assigned him a plethora of tasks to finish only saying that he would be "greatly rewarded". That annoyed him too. Of course, they were Sin'Dorei, and if they said greatly rewarded, they probably really did mean that. He had a certain faith there, much as anyone would try to deny it.

He sighed, shifting a hand into a white, cloth lined pocket, producing a list of items needed by the Knights. It was just one of many lists they needed to have finished. A quick calculation led Kardwel to believe that he simply didn't have the money the finish out all they needed. He had voiced this to the tribe, but as usual, he was only met with sarcastic and rather harsh remarks. And yet they just sat around and wondered why he acted the way he did. Not like it mattered, he didn't want to be all that close to these people any way. He'd done enough sucking up in his younger days, he was getting to a point where that didn't exactly help anymore. And no one would really believe him if he did that now. He smirked to himself, thinking how many of them made themselves such easy targets for his own sardonic replies.

He read down the list in question, realizing he had to keep at least 150 gold for them along with some Sungrass, Demonic Runes, Arcanite bars and Runecloth. He'd already gone through his bags and realized he just hadn't had enough. He had to buy the Sungrass (for more than he was willing to pay) and he had some Runecloth, but not the amount that was required. The Arcanite bars costed too much (all these people demanded too much money) and the Demonic Runes...well, rumor had it that he would have to travel into the undead dungeon of Scholomance for those. And there was no way, as much as he might want to, he would be able to do that alone. Even he knew that you couldn't just throw yourself at enemies, especially ones as strong as in there.

...or maybe that was a change that he had yet to notice.

Sighing, he dropped the parchment on the table feeling helpless. Tipping the mug back, the coffee (mixed with sweet chocolate) ran warm and smooth down his throat, a slight bitterness to it. It was beginning to cool off a bit too much. Figuring he'd finish here, he would then continue on his way, figuring out how to get these said items.

Just as his glowing eyes glanced up to stare off into the distance to think about who knows what, a sound on his right caught his attention. There was a large body suddenly apparent there. Quickly looking up, Kardwel realized it was that of Melikar.

The troll was looking down at him, seemingly not too happy. His plate armor had dents, there was a few cuts across some of his legs and arms and blood (both dried and some still wet) was shining with the browns and reds he wore. All he did was hold out a slightly blood-stained bag toward the Blood Elf.

Kardwel didn't move, removing his mug from the table and leaning back in his chair a bit too far for comfort.

"...what-" he began but Melikar only shook his head.

"Take it."

Kardwel slowly out-stretched an arm and took the bag. It was mildly heavy and something was clinking around in it. Opening the strings tying the bag closed, he upturned the bag, spilling it's contents on the table. Before him lay five Demonic Runes, three Arcanite bars and quite a load of Runecloth. Kardwel suddenly didn't know what to say. When both of them remained silent, he looked up at the red-haired troll, a rather spiteful look on his face.

"What, you don't think I could've handled that on my own?" he asked.

Melikar shook his head.

"Ja couldn' do it even if ja tried."

Kardwel stopped, his eyes glancing down, his face softening quite a bit. Melikar had gone off into Scholomance alone. All so he could help Kardwel get what he needed.

He didn't deserve it.

When Kardwel spoke again, he was not looking at or even facing Melikar.

"You know, I think I could've done what I needed for-"

"Jus' shut-up an' take it, Kard." Melikar's deeper voice cut him off, rolling his eyes slightly "It woulda been too much fo'ah ja ta go in dere. No one goes dat way anymo'ah."

Kardwel scooped the items back into the bag, setting it on the table. His hands had somehow formed fists, but it wasn't at his sudden feeling to the troll. It was at himself. He didn't feel strong enough now. He shouldn't even take this charity. Instead, he closed his eyes and sighed, his eyes falling to the table.

"...why did you do it?" His voice held no anger or accusation, just wondering.

Melikar hesitated for a moment.

"Ah heard ja sayin' somet'in' ta da Tribe about it. Since no one else was goin' ta help, Ah t'ought Ah would."

There were a few more moments of uncomfortable silence until finally, Melikar turned away.

"It wasn' goin' ta be easy." he said, "Ja life ain' easy."

He started walking away as Kardwel still refused to look at him.

"Ja had ta have done somet'in' fo'ah da Blood Knights ta take a likin' ta ja." Melikar continued, "Ah dunno what it be, but ja obviously need ta get bettah wit' dem."

He finally turned slightly, looking at Kardwel's rather tense frame.

"Someone has ta feel sorr'eh for ja."

Then he was off.

Kardwel sat there for a good amount of time, his eyes glaring at Melikar's back. He wanted no one to feel sorry for him. Part of him was tempted to just get up and run the bag back to the troll, telling him he didn't want or need any of it. He could get it all on his own! Then again, here was most of what he needed. Just three more of the Arcanite bars and he'd be done. And he could at least afford those last ones. He found his hand reaching for the bag, grasping it.

But instead of running off in Melikar's direction, he stood, dowing the rest of his coffee and making way for the Auction House. He didn't know why Melikar had helped him out to begin with.

Kardwel didn't know it, but maybe, for the first time in ten years, his heart was slowly beginning to soften.
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