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Story within a story
#1
If the night air was cool, he could not tell. Such was the nature of his undeath. And though he had heard that some had differing degrees of senses and sensations, it had made no difference to him. That is, until the Lady that sat before him shivered.

The involuntary movement turned his attention to her form and he brought his mind to bear solely on her. His makers had poured purpose into his essence and ensured that his tasks were completed with singular determination. Shapes and objects flowed before him, but a focused thought would make clear the target. But she was no target, nor an object or a shape. She was 'the Lady'.

As he focused on her, her words caught up in meaning and he found himself confused.

"You want to see my hand?" The words rang through his skull and echoed among the miasma of emotion, but his reflexes betrayed him.

She held his hand for a long moment. He merely sat perplexedly and watched her examine the desiccated flesh. It was then he noticed something that caused him to merely cease. His entire being froze. His mind cleared itself of the swirling miasma of emotion and he realized that he felt something. A strange sensation akin to the laughing of small children on a summer day contained in a single point upon his palm. Her was finger pressed into his skin.

He sat, dumbfounded. For an unlifetime, he had only known his emotions in their purity. A dissociative state where the tumultuous storm of internalized feelings were given no context in the physical senses. Rage, anger, sadness and joy flowed into each other without variation. Yet, he knew the truth of her touch and a connection of self raced through his body a maddening rush that nearly blinded him.

The moment then dissipated like lightning. Confusion gripped him and he desperately tried to cling to the memory. The small fragment swept through thoughts and he tucked it deep within his mind, something to ponder for later. A wave of exhaustion then washed over him and he found himself staring at his hand, for hers had withdrawn.

There was still much to be said, but it seemed somewhat easier...
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#2
The Drag - Orgrimmar

The word flowed from her lips and Saezhur was suddenly drowned in a flood of images and thoughts. His body stiffened and ceased motion, but his mind was alight with countless thoughts of times and places that became molded into a single moment. The space between breath -- if a forsaken required such a thing -- became immeasurable. His memories jostled and fought with each other for prominence in his vision and he found himself embroiled in the chaos. The word became form and his thoughts manifested meaning.

Her smile. It was her smile... No, not her smile, she had nearly drowned when you saved her. You only noticed her eyes. You could not look away from them. But you remember her skin, so translucent, so pale. Pale and wet. The water glistened off the skin. ...She was tanned! She was a daughter of a peasant. Who? No, she was... is of more proud bearing. Her long curled brown hair was almost always tied back. No, her hair is nearly as light as her skin. It is smooth and she runs her fingers through it easily.

The meaning of the word presented itself as a vacillating phantom whose form rippled with features of from his past and present. Both embodied his knowledge of the word and each held significance for their unique qualities. Saezhur focused on the vision before him and saw it begin to fade; a tantalizing dream that returned to mist within the waking. He clung to the word and saw the ghostly faces ebb into darkness, the eyes of the past falling away before the smile of the present.

And the word remained. Beauty.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#3
The shores of Azshara - thoughts

Saezhur stared at the mists. The evening sky was dark and lightly sprinkled with stars that dared to poke through the murky haze that rose from the ocean's rippling waves. He could easily guess that the tide was coming in and that cold water was mixing with warm air. Morning would usher in a thick fog, he surmised.

The waves gurgled and crashed into the beach, an undulating noise that hid the quiet movements of the rogue as he found a place to contemplate. Saezhur moved with preternatural speed and stealth and settled himself in a small cove. He surveyed the area and then tied himself to a rock -- there was no sense in risking getting washed out to sea. The crab, however, that crawled along the rocks made him wonder if anything would be missing after his journey, but decided that it did not matter. But parts were replaceable, and time was not an issue.

"If you must, go ahead, but leave me my jar." Saezhur commented to the crab as it skittered away. Saezhur then slipped into trance.

******************************************

Darkness engulfed him and he knew that there was no solid surface near his outstretched limbs. He mused at the absurdity of the idea, being lost in his own mind searching for something tangible. Perhaps he floated or fell, but it was still surprising when his face struck solid surface.

Pain.

He lifted his hand to his jaw and marveled at his chin.

Skin.

Saezhur shook his head and tried to rise to his feet but realized he was already standing. Gingerly, he stepped forward wondering about the sensations that coursed through his limbs.

Touch.

He stooped over to rub his legs and stared directly at his nakedness. Bare flesh exposed to light. He shook his head again. When did the darkness dissipate.

Sight.

The corridor that appeared before him emanated a bright light that blinded his eyes and forced him to squint. With his eyes nearly closed he felt his chest expand and contract.

Breath.

Slowly, he stepped towards the light and found it diminishing ever so slightly. The brightness replaced with the echoing din of a cavern.

Hearing.

He sloshed through small puddles of water and pushed dangling moss away from his face. The earthy scent filled his nostrils.

Smell.

The tunnel slowly gave way to a wider expanse and Saezhur could see torches affixed to walls and a small pool in the center of the cavern. Looking to his left, he saw a stone door and something else. A shadow.

"Welcome home." The voice of the creature was raspy and low, the sound of an old door as it is being slowly closed. The creature pulled itself from the wall and stood near the door. It's body an opaque mass that held the vague shape of a man. Saezhur stared in awe.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#4
"Welcome Back?" Saezhur could feel his jaw hanging agape as he stared at the shifting mass of the shadowy creature.

"You're right. My apologies. I did not mean that." The creature moved suddenly. A shadowy tendril snaked through the air and pierced Saezhur in the shoulder. Saezhur winced and felt a cold chill emanate from the wound as the wispy appendage dug deep under the flesh and twisted. The figure flowed to Saezhur's face and whispered, "I warned you that pain would await you here, did you think I was kidding?"

Saezhur pushed towards the doorway, the tendril of shadow crawling under his skin tearing deeper into his body. "It's still my mind. My thoughts. My feelings."

The shadow engulfed him and swelled over his mouth and nose. "Why couldn't you just die and be done with it? Oh wait..." A pair of eyes rolled out of the vapor and stared directly into Saezhur's "Do you hear that? Of course not. She's gone. No one is left to protect you. Your will is weak. I shall dispense with you and take my right."

The mass of shadow piled upon Saezhur's shoulders and forced him to his knees. The pain in his shoulder had sunken to his gut and he could feel the wispy appendage claw its way through his belly. The pain was excruciating and made him nauseous, but he clenched the portion that extended out of his shoulder and wrenched on it with all his might.

The creature howled laughter that echoed in the cavern and in Saezhur's ears. "You still don't get it, do you! You will never have the will to be free of me. You return to me, as you did before. Just a man. That is all that you are, that is all you will ever be. Weak and ineffectual. Today, I shall return you to the scourge!"

Anger rose within Saezhur's being and he felt strength return to him. He stared in the eyes of the being that held him down and noticed it flinch. Saezhur reached out towards the doorway and found himself standing, his hand grasping the handle. "I may never be rid of you. But you have no power over me unless I give it to you freely."

He looked at his shoulder and the shadowy appendage snapped away as he entered the room. The shadow laughed once more and then went silent.

Saezhur closed the door behind him and stood in a large study. In the middle of the octagonal room and small lamp sat on a simple desk and illuminated shelving that rose far beyond that light. The shelves and the floor were stacked with boxes. Boxes of various sizes and shapes. Some appeared to be ornate locked chests, while others looked like simple crates. No organization seemed apparent in the stacking and many rested precariously out of place. At the desk, one small box sat alone. The wood was coloured red and gave off a light sheen from the lamp light. Along the side, a small wind up key protruded. A music box.

Saezhur stared at the music box for a few moments and then stepped gently towards it. He sat at the desk and watched as the key wound itself and he found himself hesitating as he reached forward to open the lid. He placed a boney hand upon the box and blinked, realizing that he had returned to his skeletal state. He closed his eyes as he opened the lid and listened to the song that gently played. The melody was simple, plain and intimately familiar. A child's song that reminded him of loss.

Memories washed over him and he saw smiles and gestures. Her eyes could stare into my soul and knew when I was happy, hungry or sad. She delighted in knowing my thoughts long before I would realize them myself. She thought her feet were too big and that her hair hated her. Yet, she would preen for hours in the night... but only while I watched.

Saezhur came out of trance suddenly and clutched at his shoulder reflexively. He pulled himself free of his bindings and wandered out into the daylight, a question remaining on his lips.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#5
The crab scuttled away from the pile of bones pushing a jar along with it. The jar slid uneasily along the ground and toppled and rolled.

The water in the cave rose slowly and soon the jar floated out of the small burrow. The crab clicked at the jar and tried to retain its grip but the smooth glass proved too difficult to retain and the jar was washed out to sea.

Floating on the horizon, the jar rolled and spun lost in the tumultuous seas.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#6
(( This occurs after the two postings in Thread: Dis wun fin'dem.. Subject: Stepping Aside / Stepping In ))

Standing on the frigid mountains in Winterspring, far from any person or thing, I stared down the cliff and could not see bottom. The clouds were thick and rolled around me lazily. The sky above looked dark and foreboding. A perfect place to confront shadows.

"It was wrong. I know that. You will never have that chance again." My voice sounded flat and empty, though, that could not be surprising considering how long I had been dead. Perhaps I was waiting for an echo that did not come. Some kind of reverberation that would give more tone and depth. The cloud were too thick for that, so I sounded small.

I waited for shadows. I had left everyone to come here, even abandoning weapons that might prove distracting. I had come prepared for battle and instead, I stood alone on a mountain cliff overlooking a vast swath of nothingness. "That's about right."

Not this time. Not when I am ready. We lurk in the shadows, biding our time. Waiting for the moment when we are weakest. I smile inwardly, a remembered sense of accomplishment. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#7
Rogue's Quarter - Undercity

"Your money's no good here." Ezekiel Graves tended not to worry too much about the clientèle, so Saezhur nodded very slowly as the poison vendor refused to serve. Graves looked off and stared at some point away from Saezhur. This deal was at conclusion.

Shrugging, Saezhur walked away. No need to make a fuss, but I wonder what that is all about. You know. It was plain on his scant features and the movements of his hands.

Saezhur shook his head and sat idly in a darkened recess. As always, he chose a spot where his body would meld with the shroud of darkness, obscured by the dim torchlight that barely illuminated the dingy fetid corridors that were Undercity. He watched a rat scuttle and pick at the dried husk of another long-dead rat. We pray upon each other. Not just you and I, but all things. Saezhur shrugged, no response coming to his mind. Instead, he idly focused his mind on an individual that walked toward him. The gait was unmistakable and Saezhur knew that this would be no ordinary meeting. Keeping his head down but watching carefully, Saezhur waited until the forsaken came close.

"Hello Seeker Cromwell. I could not possibly mistake that smell for anyone else." Saezhur looked up at the Deathguard and grinned.

Cromwell stood firm and tightened his skeletal fist on a weapon. "We all know you, construct. Only one of you has senses and this one can't smell a thing." Cromwell then pulled his other arm around and dropped a sealed letter in Saezhur's lap. The seal of Lady Sylvanas stared up at Saezhur's face. "Your orders."

Lifting the letter lightly, Saezhur regarded Seeker Cromwell, "I see that you are not nearly as empty-headed as you look. The maggots in your skull must resonate with an arcane intelligence." Stab him. Rip his chest open and end his essence! Shaking his head, Saezhur pulled back the seal. "Care to make this quick and just give me the larva's thoughts on these... orders."

Cromwell stepped back abruptly and pulled his blade part way free. Letting loose a low growl he crouched just slightly, looking ready to pounce. "If I had the mandate, I would cut you down where you sit. You dare speak to a Deathguard with such derision?"

"Dare? I daresay that I went much past a mere dare. Or dare I say, I have no dare in me as you have dared to tell me of my business of not having enough sense to make a dare worthwhile." Saezhur grinned again. His blade seeks blood. Give him his own! But he's forsaken. There's no blood left in him. At best, he'd ooze on me.

"We shall see, construct." Cromwell stomped off, leaving Saezhur with the unopened letter.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#8
Sewers - Undercity

Deep, dark, dank. Even the foulest denizens of the Undercity did not venture into the sewers without reason. Saezhur stared at his reason. An unopened letter bearing the seal of Lady Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen. For a moment, he considered tearing the note into pieces and ignoring the contents. Nothing worth reading.

How can you be so sure?

The voice came to him, as it always did, light, lilting and from the left side of his mind. "Morgan, I asked you to speak plainly with me. My head is already too full of voices to add yours to the menagerie." Withdrawing a bleached human skull from his bag, Saezhur placed Morgan on a shelf of rock next to him.

Her voice emanated from the skull and filled the space between them in a melodic whisper. "Silly Saezhur, securely sequestered in the seams of said satchel, she speaks too softly for your senses to scrutinize."

"Okay, you can definitely stop that." Destroy the wench, smash her into dust! Away with you, this is my time! With a subtle motion, Saezhur twitched his head to the side to dismiss the dark voice.

That one I do not like. The other one is better.


"I try, Morgan -- Am trying for that matter. We have discussed this. And plainly, please." Saezhur stared at the note and again considered opening it.

Morgan's skull shook and the voice echoed lightly, "You haven't read it, yet."

"No, I have not read it. It is still unopened." Saezhur held the note in front of Morgan, and twisted it in circles showing that it was still sealed. "Why, have you read it?"

"Of course, silly Saezhur. You are the one that showed me how, when you taught me to move between skulls. The object is, but the essence moves between. For that matter, your mind moves more than mine, meandering in mire and muck and much ado about morass than mine might be moved to muse. Why would this be any different?" Morgan's voice was chastising and slightly sarcastic, but still filled with a pleasant demeanor.

Saezhur shrugged. "So what does the note say?"

"The usual. It lacks tone but speaks volumes." The glee in the spirit's voice was impossible to misplace.

"And?" Saezhur sat still waiting for Morgan to continue, knowing that her need to talk would outweigh her enjoyment of keeping a secret.

Soon enough, Morgan broke the silence, "Oooh, you always win. Fine, I will tell you."
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#9
Sewers - Undercity

The gurgling water of the sewer echoed in the tunnel and surrounded Saezhur and Morgan. Several more minutes passed with no words exchanged and only the occasional burp of some noxious cloud expelled from the turbid waters.

I bet that was a stinky one.

Saezhur sat and stared at the empty skull biding his time until the female entity choose to reveal her knowledge. Time, as he had learned, was always on his side.

No callous comeback to cancel this crow's calling in your cranium?

No comments escaped his thoughts, a black cloud shimmered in his mind's eye. A purity of emptiness.

"Ooh, you couldn't be any less fun right now, could you?" Morgan's voice echoed from the skull and filled the sewer with an exasperated tone. "Besides, we both know that you don't have to open the letter to read it. You just don't want to get near that glyph, do you?"

Saezhur nodded slowly, the torpor of his body slowing his reactions momentarily. "There is a glyph, two actually, but perhaps I merely like to listen to your voice." His own voice was dry and monotone.

Morgan's mellifluous laughter echoed throughout the tunnel. "Now I know you are lying to get your way. Sickly sweet succor escapes the sugar-coated lips of the scarcely-eyed skeleton seeking to snatch the sanguine speculations of this staid seamstress."

"You were a seamstress?"

A light giggle filled the air and Morgan responded. "I needed a word, besides, I was never exiled as you have been."

Saezhur acknowledged Morgan's words with a nod. "Indeed. Lady Sylvanas was quite clear in the third paragraph. 'And punishable by imprisonment and dismemberment should you return...'" Holding the letter aloft, Saezhur regarded the bottom corners. "But it is the glyphs that likely contain the real heart of the matter. Exile is one thing. It is expected. A known quantity -- as some might say -- but it is what is contained in the two sigils that will define the ends."

"Are you going to open the letter and unlock the glyphs?" Morgan's tone was a delighted curiousity. "I'd activate the prettier one, it has a pony and those are always nice."

Saezhur shook his head slowly, "No, I suspect that Varimathras is using honey to sweeten the thoughts. Instead, I shall look at the one with the snarling serpent." Carefully, Saezhur opened the letter, unfolded the note and stared at the first glyph.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#10
Sewers - Undercity still

The edges of the glyph, a demonic serpent coiled around itself with fangs clasped upon its tail, expanded in a smoky mass. The billowing tendrils appeared slow and cumbersome, if only because of Saezhur's unnatural reflexes, but the attack was clear. The cloud puffed into a large ball and exploded outwards in a ball of white hot flame.

Saezhur reacted and moved his body to interpose himself between the coming explosion and the unguarded skull of Morgan. He watched as the flames lashed out and swarmed over his chest and face, tendrils of flame curling over his shoulders and licking at his back. And just as quickly, the flames died, but the deafening sound of the explosion still hung in the air.

Saezhur shook his head and shrugged, "Sometimes a spade is a spade..."

"What?" Morgan's voice was loud and shrill. Saezhur ignored her.

What? In his mind, her voice was still loud and shrill.

Slowly, he turned to face the skull, his clothes were tattered and charred and chunks of dessicated flesh had been blackened or reduced to ash.

"Your hair looks amusing with it all pushed back like that." Morgan let loose a light giggle, trying to make light of the event.

Saezhur nodded slowly, "That would be the warning shot over the bow, I assume. Perhaps it would have been wisdom to look at the pony first, wouldn't you say?" He noticed the undamaged scroll on the ground and further remarked, "And perhaps holding the scroll in front of me would have been beneficial for it's fire protection..."

Seconds passed and Morgan made no reply. Saezhur then tilted his head to the side and waited for a response.

Uhm, Saezhur sweety, standing within this short space is a sincerely sinister sentinel sneering. Despite speaking into his mind, Morgan's voice was low and suddenly filled with trepidation.

Saezhur nodded in reply, "Yes, an illusion of Varimathras..." The illusion cut off the remainder of Saezhur's thought and began to speak.

"Congratulations rogue. If you are hearing this, then you are stronger than I expected. That mistake will not be repeated. Regardless, the explosion has now pinpointed your location and soon my agents will be along to collect you." If the demon could smile Saezhur expected that he would have at that point but the face did not change. "Your willful disregard for the rules of the Undercity and her rightful ruler Lady Sylvanas have become a thorn in the city's governance. You have been warned about the act of destruction against other forsaken and have chosen to ignore a tenement that you yourself agreed to abide by. You have now forfeited your right to safe haven within these lands and are to be subjected to imprisonment should you return to the Undercity. This will not be of great concern to you..."

Saezhur grabbed Morgan and the scroll and began heading out of the tunnel as footsteps in the dingy water could be heard from far off. Varimathras' image trailed behind the scroll and continued speaking, "as my agents are on strict orders to ensure that you do not return. Should they fail then rest assured that others will be utilized to this purpose. You are a menace to the order we have established and as such I have undertaken means to ensure your end."

The image of Varimathras disappeared and Saezhur closed his fist around the scroll as he ran through the tunnel. Ahead, he could see a shadowy figure that was waiting for him. He had fallen into a trap. The footsteps behind him increased in pace and Saezhur launched himself towards the being in front of him, a squat demonoid with vicious talons swiping through the air. Only steps before being caught in the grip of the demon, Saezhur tossed a smoke grenade and vanished, reappearing behind his opponent -- a little trick he had picked up while watching other spirits. Under the cover of shadow, he ran silently away, leaving his captors to figure out what had happened.
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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#11
Hellfire Peninsula - Moutains Near Thrallmar

"Saezhur sweetie, it's been some solemn span of space and time to sequester one's speculations and speeches and skirt the subject at hand. Why are we wallowing wistfully so withdrawn from welcome that we waste weeks wandering these wilds?"

"It hasn't been weeks." Saezhur replied dryly. He could not refute Morgan's other claims. After the explosion in the tunnels in Undercity, Saezhur had taken to the backroads. His assumption was that all of his normal avenues would be watched and that those he came in contact with would also face tribunal, so he kept to himself.

And in the backroads he found himself battling his way into the Outlands. Alongside other horde and alliance, he worked in their common cause to clear the entrance. But his will was not to go forth and explore new lands, or find lost tribes, instead, he fought his way through the denizens in an effort to escape the malevolent forces that were intent on bringing him to justice. A simple kind of frontier justice where his pursuers would be his executioners. With that thought in mind, Saezhur found his way into the Outlands and worked his way into the quiet places where people would not take notice of him.

"Suffice it to say that this shallow she suggests that the smell of sweet summer sage would soften the sullen surroundings and spoil the sour sands with... I used sweet already, what is another term, Saezhur sweetie." Morgan's voice lilted and soared on the breeze.

Saezhur regarded the skull that sat before him. "So, you're telling me that I don't take you to nice places?"

Morgan's laughter filled the space between them and echoed lightly off of the mountain walls. "Am I so easy to discern? Then how about this, what wile whispers wait within the wrapped writing that we ward in our wares? There is still the other glyph."

"I was only waiting until you asked." Saezhur pulled out the parchment and looked at the page. The glyph of the coiled serpent had crumbled and turned to dust. A few specks remained as reminders but no other trace would identify that it had ever existed. The other glyph remained. A winged pony reared up with legs jutting outwards. Saezhur stared at the crest for a long moment and began to wonder if the magicks had been harmed by the explosion. Saezhur looked back over the document and glanced at a phrase that had seemed awkward upon the first reading. Speak thy name and recognize what has been done. Saezhur nodded to himself and uttered a single word, "Saezhur".

A billowing cloud erupted from the glyph and the image of lady Sylvanas appeared. Her form trailed off towards the ground and her body shimmered with a faint iridescent light. The illusion of her ghostly visage strained at its edges and one with a perceptive eye would see through the magicks quite easily. This small detail was enough to mark as evidence that it was designed hastily. The voice of the illusion was masterful by comparison, a feat of magic that Saezhur had not known possible. Sylvanas spoke directly to his mind, uttering thoughts, words and images in rapid succession. For a moment, the flood of detail nearly overwhelmed him, but he soon realized that all was being remembered clearly, as if they had talked face-to-face so many days before. The moment passed and the voice went silent. The image faded and the glyph disintegrated.

Saezhur stood and looked down at Morgan's skull. "I don't have to speak of this?"

"Nope. Not a note." Morgan chirped.

Saezhur picked up the skull and held it up to his face. "Heard everything?"

"Indubitably, in importance and intonation." The tone of her voice brought to mind the smile of a mischievous child.

He rolled the skull in his hand. "So you have an idea of what must be done?"

"Yes, I yield to your yelp, and yet yoke my yearning."

"Be it bittersweet, back in the bag for you baby." Stuffing the skull in his backpack, he moved quickly toward Thrallmar

SAEZHUR!
If it ain't broke, then you really aren't using it are you?
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