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The Calling
#1
((Please post any feed-back you wish to leave me. I know this is very centered around my characters at the moment, but I do plan to sprout this into an actual tribe event. So anything you wish to tell me, please do!))

It had only been one day since the announcement of Dispaya's departing. Of course, the word had spread like wild-fire among the tribe.

Melikar hadn't strayed far from the guild hall, his spirit greatly diminished. The hall wasn't a happy place at the moment. He often felt the need to stay outside where the winter weather was slowly fading into spring. It didn't make much of a difference in the Barrens where it was always warm. But the sun did feel slightly warmer than usual.

Currently, he was out gathering up various packages and letters for the people of the guild. Many of them had their things sent here out of convenience. He dumped a large armful on the table and tried separating out the parcels from the letters. On letter in particular however, caught his eye. It was wrapped in bright parchment, the name written clearly and fancy on the front.

Sir Kardwel Gil'Light

But perhaps the most interesting aspect was the insignia of the Red Dragon flight firmly stamped on the back. Whatever this was, it looked important. Since the troll didn't see himself going anywhere soon, he decided it best to wait out the day and see if the blood elf returned.

~~~

Whether fate was on his side or not, Melikar didn't know. But Kardwel did return that afternoon. The troll approached him immediately, handing him the letter.

"T'ought ja might want dis." he quietly said. It was obvious from the look on Kardwel's face and the general aura he put out that he didn't want to be bothered.

The elf eyed him for a moment, then took the letter without making a sound. He gave it a once over, a slight glimmer of curiosity covering his eye for a moment. Kardwel didn't know what this meant, but only one way to find out.

He broke the seal on the back and unfolded the letter, his eyes scanning through it quickly. They went wide as he neared the bottom. And for the first time in a while, Melikar heard the elf's voice, quietly.

"What would she....?"

Kardwel shook his head.

"I have to go."

Melikar gave the elf a look of shock.

"Now?" he asked, "Dere gonna be a gatherin' tanight about 'Spaya. Ah t'ink ja should be dere."

"I can't." Kardwel stated, "Tell them I wish I could've been there."

And before Melikar could stop him, Kardwel had turned to leave. The troll stood there for a few minutes, dumbfounded. Looking about him, he realized the letter had slipped from Kardwel's grip. Leaning down, Melikar picked up the letter and read it. His expression must've been quite similar to Kardwel's initial reaction.

Sir Kardwel Gil'Light,

I hope this letter finds you in great regards. I humbly ask for your presence at the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight.

We have much to discuss.

Signed,

~ Alexstraza, Queen of the Red Flight


~~~
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#2
The activity around Wyrmrest Temple had diminished somewhat. Ever since Malygos' death, things had calmed down.

But there were still plenty of these blue dragons to try and continue the fight. Their efforts, however, were easily countered and the red flight grew strong with the backing of both Alliance and Horde.

Kardwel found himself here, just as he had been asked. He slid off the back of the red wyrm who had been kind enough to give him a quick flight to the top of the temple. Quickly thanking the wyrm, the paladin stepped out of its way and into the temple itself. The area that housed Queen Alexstrasza herself was rather simple. Columns rose up all around the temple's perimeter, great red wyrms and drakes alike sat and flew around the outside of the columns, always ensuring their queen's safety. A few humanoids stood among the inner area, resembling blood elf, human and even gnome. But Kardwel knew none of the figures were really humanoid. It was the disguise of many dragons, and their true form lay elsewhere.

Among the all, however, one stood out. She was taller, her skin dark and her eyes glowing yellow much like they did when she wasn't in a human form. From her head fell tendrils of red hair, and two large horns sprouted from either side. Kardwel had seen her before, but her form still left him with a sense of awe.

He approached her and swept into a graceful bow as he kneeled to the floor, his plate armor making a soft tap against the stone beneath him.

"Sir Kardwel Gil'Light," Her soft, yet powerful voice said to him, "You may rise."

Kardwel did so, looking up into her kind face. She gave him a gentle smile and an expression as if she could read every thought he had.

"I know you're probably wondering why I called you here, Sir Gil'Light." she continued.

Kardwel nodded.

"A bit yes," he admitted, "But I find it interesting that you call upon me right when I think of calling upon you."

Alexstrasza continued to smile, but her voice took on an apologetic tone.

"There has been destruction in your life." It wasn't a question.

Kardwel nodded again, "You could easily say that." He hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "I suppose you can give me your reasons first and then I'll tell you mine."

Alexstrasza eyed him with amusement for a moment before speaking.

"I asked you to come here because I have a question."

What this question was, Kardwel was really in the dark. Why would she need him to answer a question? She was the preserver of all life on this planet, and she needed him? Regardless, he continued to listen.

"There are people I meet in life who I cannot give a viable explanation for. Sometimes I get feelings or perhaps I just have an instinct to sense the greater good. Some of these people give me a feeling that somehow, fate is destined to play in their favor. When I first met Lord Fordring, I felt that sensation that he was meant for something great."

Kardwel didn't interrupt, but his curiosity only grew worse.

"At first, I thought that may be the feeling I had from you." Alexstrasza continued, "But it was different." She paused and looked out towards the drakes on the outside perimeter of the temple. A mighty set of red wings dashed by before ducking out of sight.

"You see, when I am near my kin, I can feel them." She explained, "I am mother to many and friend to all. Whenever a fellow Red Flight is near, I can sense them. After feeling it for a while, I realized there was no substitute. Somehow, you are giving off the feeling as if you are one of my own."

Kardwel's eyes went wide as he stared at her. How could he be part of the Red Flight? He was no dragon!

"I know for a fact," Alexstrasza quickly mentioned, "That you are not a dragon and you are not one of my own. I figured maybe it was the sense of fate that was playing with me. But then I remembered that you give off a feeling unlike which I have felt before. A sense of familiarity, but also one I cannot identify."

Kardwel's mind was beginning to race. What did this mean for him?

"So I pose this question to you, Sir Gil'Light," Alexstrasza then said, "If you certainly don't mind me asking, what are you?"

Kardwel found he had no answer for that.
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#3
There was silence for some time.

Alexstrasza's eyes still rested on the paladin before her, but Kardwel only found that he could stare back. All he managed was a slight shrug.

"I..." he started, really unsure what to say, "...couldn't tell you, my lady."

Her expression grew complex.

"Is there anything significant that has happened in your life?" she asked, "Perhaps something that you have felt separates you from others?"

Kardwel looked away. There was one big significant thing that happened not too long ago, actually.

"I died." he stated as if it happened to the common person every day. He then looked back to Alexstrasza's surprised gaze. "But I was brought back." he then explained. "My tribe, they helped me come back."

Alexstrasza seemed to be concentrating.

"And how did they do that?" she asked, "Unless one of my own walks among your tribe. And even then, they would have to be quite a powerful wyrm to pull back a spirit that tried to go on."

Kardwel shook his head.

"You have a misunderstanding, my lady." he replied, "My soul was held by a warlock as my body was destroyed. Then, I was resurrected. I can't...really remember how."

And it was the truth. Kardwel could remember back to that day in Netherstorm when the tribe stood about him, ready to destroy his over-powered body. He had remembered the pain as the fire Dispaya had carried enveloped him. The next thing he remembered, he was back among everyone else feeling more refreshed than ever. His hunger, sated.

A sudden pain shot through his heart as he remembered Dispaya and the fact that she was gone.

"How were you killed?" the Queen asked, bringing Kardwel back to the current situation.

"By fire." Kardwel said, simply.

"And who killed you?" Alexstrsza posed.

"A woman by the name of-" he cut himself off, suddenly feeling emotion starting to well up from his chest. With visible effort, he made himself relax. "...Dispaya." The name came out short, and abrupt.

Alexstrasza looked away from Kardwel once more, this time as if staring at something behind him only she could see.

"I remember her." She whispered.

"Hmm?" Kardwel's eyes looked up at hers, a quirk of his eyebrow as he wondered. Dispaya had been here? For what?

"She came to me once, because she needed help. She told me that she had a friend who was being destroyed by magic and that she needed a drop of my blood to bring him back to life. And I believe you may be that person."

She suddenly smiled.

"Is it not funny how life plays out this way?"

Kardwel wasn't smiling however. He only stared at the Queen for a long amount of time. His face slowly began to grow pale.

"She came here..." he started, hesitantly, "...to get your blood so she could bring me back?"

"Yes." Alexstrasza simply answered, "And in turn, I told her she had to owe me a service. One drop of my blood can do much good. But it can easily be used to destroy as well."

"I remember her as well." A new voice joined the conversation. It was higher pitched and followed by a gnomish figure. Kardwel recognized Chromie at once.

"I told her of the journey she would have to make back in time."

Kardwel's attention shifted to Chromie now. "Journey to do what?" he asked.

"Er," Chromie started, "I suppose you wouldn't remember would you." She paused, "Where is Dispaya anyway? She did a wonderful job of saving Mograine."

Each word the paladin heard only continued to confuse him. Dispaya went back in time to save Mograine? Where was all this coming from?

"Dispaya..." Kardwel formed her name on his lips, his tone lovingly embracing her name. "She...she's gone."

Chromie paused and looked back at Kardwel, knowing that "gone" meant for good.

"I am...sorry to hear that."

Kardwel just shook his head.

"Let me get this straight," he started, looking to Alexstrasza, "Dispaya came to you so she could get a drop of your blood to save me? And after that, she came back to owe you a service which meant traveling back in time to save Mograine?"

"Yes," Chromie answered for both the aspects, "I sent her back so she could save Mograine so we wouldn't live in a world plagued by the Scourge. I do not think you existed in the alternate timeline, Mister Gil'Light. And if you did, you certainly were not a paladin." she continued, "Regardless, an old necromancer was the assassin and he was the one miss Dispaya had to stop."

There was silence as Kardwel tried to piece it all together. His mind failed, there were just too many questions!

"And she had to be successful or else we wouldn't be standing right here, correct?" Kardwel asked.

Chromie only nodded.

Suddenly, an idea dawned on the paladin. He stared at Chromie.

"I have to go back." he stated.

Chromie gave a giggle, "I'm afraid it's not that easy mister Kardwel. There have to be very specific reasons as to why someone should go back. And messing with the time-line is a very, very dangerous thing. I cannot just send you back there."

Kardwel's expression turned hurt.

"I need to see what killed her." he quietly muttered.

"Easier said than done." Chromie explained, "If you want to go back to see if you can save her, it's a no go. That is something Nozdormu would have to have a say in. If it were that easy to go back in time and saved loved ones, we all would be doing it. But time cannot be messed with lightly. Dispaya was certainly an exception to that rule, and I knew I'd be sending her back there for such a task long before it happened."

Chromie gave Kardwel an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry about the loss of Dispaya, she had quite a heart. But there are reasons for these things. Reasons she had to leave and when she did."

Kardwel then turned his gaze to Alexstrasza, his expression hopeful. The red dragon Queen could sense it and only shook her head.

"You cannot save her with my blood either. She is gone."

Like a flickering candle suddenly being snuffed out, Kardwel's eyes slipped to the floor, his expression turned dull and dark.

"You should not worry, Sir Gil'Light." she said quietly, "In death, we will all see one another again. After all, you know what awaits you on the other side. You've died before, haven't you?"

Kardwel looked up at Alexstrasza again and nodded. He once more turned his eyes to Chromie.

"Is there a way you can at least send me back to see how she died? Maybe an out-of-body experience of some sort?" Kardwel asked.

Chromie eyed Alexstrasza for a moment, some sort of unsaid conversation going between them, then looked back to Kardwel.

"Perhaps," she said, "But there are other things we still need to discuss."
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#4
"What is so important that you had to send me a dragon?"

Kardwel lifted his eyes from the book he had been studying to notice Sentei standing in the door-frame. The room had been given to the paladin as accommodations for the night. Not much else had been discussed between he and the other two dragon aspects. As for the question that Alexstrasza had proposed to him the previous day, he still had no answer for. And it was the exact reason he had sent for Sentei in the first place.

"I was hoping you could answer a question for me." he gently replied.

"A question so important you couldn't wait to get back to Dalaran to tell me?" Sentei inquired, leaning against the door-frame and crossing his arms, giving Kardwel a bit of a teasing smile.

Kardwel didn't take the bait.

"No." he said seriously, "I had to discuss this with you here because this is where the dragons are."

Sentei arched his eyebrows in reply to Kardwel's serious remark. Apparently this wasn't the time to be joking. And he should've known. With Dispaya gone, the warlock was actually surprised at how well Kardwel was holding up to it. He had expected his younger brother to go missing or something along those lines.

"Okay then," He said, "Take me to the dragons."

Kardwel was happy to oblige.

~~~

About an hour later, Sentei was sitting at a finely made table next to Kardwel as the story unfolded. He heard about how Kardwel had given off a strange aura to the dragon Queen, how his over-powered body had led Dispaya into giving Alexstrasza a favor and how she had gone back into time. The time bit seemed rather far-fetched, but Chromie had given her word. And that in itself made him have to believe it.

"So, Dispaya went back in time because she was indebted to you?" Sentei clarified, eyeing Alexstrasza as she sat proudly in a large-backed chair near the head of the room.

She silently nodded.

"Chromie told me it was to happen. I have to respect the wishes of the other Flights, else we fall into chaos."

Sentei's mouth twisted into a smile.

"Even Deathwing?"

Alexstrasza shifted her gaze onto the warlock, so hard he felt like she was boring holes into him.

"Mister Gil'Light," she said very matter-of-factually, "If you intend to joke so lightly about a very dangerous being, I will have you removed from my temple."

Sentei held up his hands apologetically. He really did feel like that was a bad thing to say now that she mentioned it. But she did have an Ambassador of the Black flight right here on her own grounds.

"Not all the kin of such an evil being are creators of destruction." she then followed, almost able to read Sentei's mind.

There was silence after that as Sentei sat in thought. It was quite a lot to take in.

"Who was the assassin, anyway?" He then asked. Luckily, Chromie had been present and was making a few rounds about the room.

"A deadly mage," her squeaky voice began, "More like a Necromancer. He went by the name Walter. Dispaya...she knew who he was."

"And this Walter..." Sentei then asked, "Does anyone know who he was to Dispaya? And if he's still alive?"

Kardwel remained staring at the table, his face a stone mask the entire time. He didn't know who the man was either, but apparently he had posed quite a threat. If he was, in fact alive, the paladin would do all he could to ensure the man was killed.

"He is dead." Chromie said, giving Kardwel a somewhat better feeling. "He died when the time-line was restored to normal. But he...he had something with him. Something that he knew could destroy the Dispaya you all knew."

"What was it?"

This time, it was Kardwel's voice. For once, he was showing a little more life at the mention of this object.

Chromie only shook her head.

"I am unsure." She said, causing the hope rising in Kardwel's chest once more to sink. If Chromie wasn't going to send him back, how would he ever know?

"Well, apparently we have two problems here." Sentei spoke up, stretching his legs onto in unused chair. "First, we have this strange aura that Alexstrasza is getting from you." He nodded at Kardwel who turned his head to look, "The same aura you've had since you first set foot here. Before you died."

Kardwel nodded slowly.

"And then," Sentei continued, not looking away from the palaidn, "We have the whole idea behind how Dispaya died. Something you think has to do with her going back in time..."

Kardwel's dull green eyes flickered back to the table as Dispaya was mentioned as dead once more.

"Well," Sentei calmly said, "I can help you figure out the aura thing. But as for Dispaya's death...well, I'm in the dark about it same as anyone else. Anca was the last person who saw Dispaya alive. Perhaps you could ask her."

Kardwel felt a small glimmer of hope in his chest as he remembered the small Kor'kron girl. It was about the only option he had at this point. But his attention was now on the fact that Sentei had mentioned the strange aura Alexstrasza had felt.

"I'll ask Anca," He said, "But tell me what you know about the aura."

Sentei's expression changed in that moment. His eyes squinted for a moment, even though there was nothing to really squint at. His legs left the comfort of the other chair and he gave Kardwel an apologetic look.

"What?" Kardwel asked.

Sentei shook his head, speaking in almost a whisper.

"I knew this day would come. But somehow, I was hoping I could avoid it."

"What're you talking about?" Kardwel asked, his expression turning worrisome.

"Your existence is painful," Sentei mournfully stated, no longer able to look his brother in the eyes, "There are times I wish you'd not have been born. Because what father did to ensure that you stayed alive is what inevitably killed you."
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
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#5
Three days had passed since the Gil'Light brothers had left Wyrmrest temple in Dragonblight. They had made their way home to Silvermoon, and the entire trip back, Kardwel had barely spoken more than a few words.

Dispaya's death had been a true hit home. And to top it off, he now heard the truth about who he was.

When they had made it back safely, Sentei took Kardwel to his own home. Whereas Kardwel lived in the Ironsong guild hall, Sentei lived in both the guild hall and his home city. After the news, Sentei knew Kardwel wasn't going to be any better off than he was before. When he offered his younger brother tea and something to eat, Kardwel declined. He shook his head, barely a sound made from his lips.

Sentei heaved a sigh as he watched Kardwel stand and exit the home. Instead, he ate alone and wondered if he really should've spilled the beans right now. To be honest, it couldn't have come at a worse time.

The warlock found he hadn't been able to eat much either, and after sitting around stewing in his own thoughts for a while, he ventured out into the city. He didn't know if he would find Kardwel or not, but he figured it was worth a try. Luckily, it didn't take long to find him. Sentei had made his way to the front of the city and exited the large frame that stood as a door between the city and Eversong woods. Rain had come rolling in as a greeting to their return and was now splattering the outside of the city with heavy drops.

Sentei stood in the awning of the frame, watching the rain soak the forest beyond. On a small bench not far from him, sat Kardwel. His blond hair hung in soaked streaks over his back as he sat hunched over in the rain. Sentei slowly began to approach, wondering if this was a good idea.

"Kard..." he softly tried, putting a hand on Kardwel's shoulder.

Kardwel slowly looked up, rain sliding down strands of his hair and over his face.

"Don't touch me." he quietly threatened.

"This isn't my fault." Sentei explained, "I only told you the truth. I'm sorry if it hurts."

Kardwel didn't reply, just let his head hang back down towards the ground. Small rivulets of water had now formed over the stones that made up the walkway towards the city and he found his eyes focusing on that instead. Or...trying. Everything Sentei had told him just didn't make sense. The words rang clear in his head this moment and every one before it leading back home...

~~~

"How it happened is beyond me." Sentei's eyes looked to Alexstrasza then back to Kardwel, "When you were a baby, just fresh from mother's womb, father did something he never should have."

Kardwel's eyes watched Sentei with a sense of forboding.

"You see," Sentei continued, "We, the Sin'Dorei, knew the Sunwell was a very powerful object. It was left alone for the time being, but they knew it wouldn't remain that way forever. Father may have been a controlling bastard, but he wasn't stupid. He and group of others agreed that it was time to start finding new remedies to our, erm, addiction. They knew that was exactly what it was because our kind died without magic energy."

Alexstrasza, Kardwel and even Chromie listened with interest. As Sentei went on, a sense of understanding overcame the Bronze one.

"They knew someone would eventually do whatever it took to gain the Sunwell's energy for themselves. After all, it had been used once to summon a demon-lord to Azeroth once before in the far past, what was to stop something like that from happening again? And we know what the result of the first Sunwell was."

Sentei paused to let the words sink in for a moment.

"Father knew all about me," he then said, "But I had run away from home at a young age. I realized early on that I didn't want to live with him. Perhaps he loved me when he said he wanted me to follow the priestly ways that he did. But when he found out my interests lay in a much darker area, he wanted nothing to do with me. Calling me a demon-child and nearly forcing me to change my ways. I would have none of it. And besides, whatever research he was conducting, a child of my age at the time would be of no use. He needed one that was fresh. One that could manifest the energy he planned to use."

Kardwel still listened, his expression hard.

"He knew he had a wife, he knew he had a son once before, but not one he wanted. It only made sense that he would try for another. And whether fate is cruel or not, another son is what he got."

Sentei's eyes had slipped away as he spoke, but now they contacted Kardwel once again.

"And that was you. Somehow, father had managed to find red dragon blood."

Alexsrasza's eyes went wide as she listened, but she didn't interrupt.

"He had many connections," Sentei continued, "Any one of them could've gotten what he needed. And when you were born, Kardwel, he injected the Red blood into you. What kind of an effect it would have on your magic-craving body, no one had any idea. I don't think even mother knew it happened. Regardless, father began to take notes right away. He noticed a heightened sense of energy from you he got from no other Sin'Dorei."

Kardwel had gone pale, his jaw slacking as he listened. How could...? After all his father had taught him...? He had always felt different growing up, but never...never had he thought it would be like this.

"Don't you get it now, Kardwel?" Sentei asked, his head swiveling towards his brother, "Father bred you to be the solution to our people's addiction. He bred you to be more powerful than all of them."

Kardwel slowly shook his head, his jaw clamping shut hard.

"He bred you to be a weapon."

At that moment, Kardwel felt a wave of emotion and energy sweep through him. He stood so quickly and violently, he kicked his chair backwards.

"YOU'RE LYING!!" He screamed, his arm reaching out across the table and sending dishes shattering against the floor.

Alexstrasza jumped at the commotion and Chromie had to quickly duck out of the way of the porcelain shrapnel.

Sentei was on his feet in an instant.

"You KNOW what father was, Kardwel! Does it really surprise you that he would use you to such gain!?"

Kardwel's eyes flashed as he glared upwards at Sentei, but the warlock didn't stop speaking.

"You know he always wanted a name for himself. That's why he named you Kael, just as his parents named him Anastarian, he would name you after the Sun Prince."

"My name is KARDWEL!" Kardwel shouted, nearly doubling over from the effort.

"Only because mother didn't want you to be named as such. So instead of keeping the name 'Kael' she threw her three initials in there to make it more unique. Her maiden name, 'Renee Dan'Aman Windstrider'."

Ka

RDW

el

Kardwel felt his energy draining from his body. No, it wasn't true. It just wasn't true! He closed his eyes tight, only able to hear the loud roar in his ears of emotion as he tried everything in his power to remain under control.

"Father used you as a lab rat," Sentei explained in the moment of quiet, "And the result ended up doing you way more harm than good."


~~~

Kardwel hadn't bothered to ask Sentei how he found out, nor had he listened to anymore of the story. He had turned and he had run from the room. He didn't want the world to see him anymore. He had returned to his room and remained there for the rest of the day. Whatever Sentei told the two dragon aspects, he didn't bother to wonder or care.

Sentei's hand slipped off Kardwel's shoulder as the paladin continued to sit in the rain, unmoving. The warlock sighed and turned around to go back towards the shelter of the city. This is something Kardwel would have to find his own peace in. He wouldn't be able to say much more on the subject until Kardwel would calmly sit and listen.

The paladin in question remained where he was for some time. The rain had soaked through his clothes and his hair by the time he finally stood. All he wore was a simple shirt, pants and basic shoes. The shirt was white with gold and red trim, very classic to the Sin'Dorei style. But he didn't pay any attention to his soaked clothes or the odd looks the guards gave him as he made way down the path out of Silvermoon to the Dead Scar. As a matter of fact, the wet shirt was just another irritation. He removed it, his blond hair sticking to his now bare skin.

With his shirt gone, and his hair splayed out over his back and arms in thicker strands, one looking could easily see the glistening tattoo that took up the entire area of his upper back. Two wings, crafted from red and gold inks, one over each shoulder blade, feathers fanned out as if to mimic that of the legendary phoenix. Every man in the Gil'Light house would have this tattoo etched on their backs. No doubt, Sentei had one too.

Finding the Dead Scar, Kardwel stared into the mud-strewn plane. The undead who had made their appearances here were long gone. Every fighting Sin'Dorei had destroyed them, as well as the other allies of the Horde when they had joined forces. As he slowly stepped into the mud, he could think of nothing else but what the last week had brought him.

Dispaya...

She was gone. He had a feeling he would never see her again. He had been too lost in his own turmoil and his own selfish acts to tell her what was on his mind.

And now he found out his father had used him in twisted experiments to do what? Better his people? No, Anastarien was only ever concerned with himself and his image with the higher ups of Silvermoon. None of which were even alive anymore. And now, Kardwel suffered for it. He had needed Sunwell water to keep himself sated all those years. And when he ran out...

Dispaya...

She went back in time because she owed Alexstrasza a favor. She had needed Alexstrasza's blood to resurrect him and that was the whole reason in the first place. If she...if she had just let him die to his consuming addiction, she never would've had to go back. And if she had never had to go back, she wouldn't have fallen victim to the Necromancer...

It was his fault. All of it was all his fault.

Kardwel felt himself hit the ground, mud splattering up on his knees and thighs with the force of his weight as his legs gave out. His hands slipped down to rest on his thighs, clenching them into fists. And finally, he realized there was no way he could keep himself under control anymore. He hunched over in the mud and felt himself begin to sob.

Is this...what his life was destined for? To be hurt over and over, until finally the last straw would snap?

The rain only continued to pelt him and the wind threw itself in his direction, making his body shiver. Rain and tears alike slid down his face as he tried to comprehend the meaning of his very existence. He had been nothing but a curse. Everyone he loved had been taken from him in some way. Mehri, his family, his friends...and now Dispaya.

Amongst the sobs wracking his body, he managed to somehow speak.

"I'm sorry, Dispaya...I am so sorry..."
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#6
It had been a few weeks since Dispaya had passed on.

And for those few weeks, Kardwel found himself at the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight, the libraries in Dalaran or even the guild hall’s shelves looking for any answers that may pertain to his questions. And he had a lot of them.

He knew the fact that Dispaya had gone back in time had to have had something to do with her death. He knew one person couldn’t just up and die from no cause whatsoever. There had to be a reason.

Every night, he sat in Dalaran in a comfortable bed in the small room he had rented out near the Filthy Animal inn. And for every night that passed, not one would go by where he didn't tenderly hold that small locket that Anca had given him. The locket the small orc girl had found and given to Dispaya as a parting gift. The elf found it too odd that it was the only thing that remained in the mage’s sanctum after she had departed. As matter of fact, it was another one of those moments where he sat pondering the locket’s existence. Except it wasn’t evening this time.

It was daylight, and he was about to embark once more on a journey to the Wyrmrest Temple in hopes of finding the answers to the questions that plagued him.

What had happened then? Why was this the only artifact left? What strange magic or power did it hold? And what did her going back in time have to do with it all? Did HE have anything to do with it?

Only Chromie or even the Dragon Queen may know the answers now. He slipped the slim, silver chain over his neck and held the locket close to his heart. He didn’t know how long he would have to keep running around with it, but he did promise Anca it would be returned. And a Paladin never broke his oath.

~~~

“Hmm…”

Kardwel watched Chromie as she held the small necklace in her hands. The bronze dragon disguised as a gnome didn’t answer right away. As a matter of fact, she spent a good few moments looking over the object.

The elf sat at a small wooden table, his elbow resting on the flat surface and his fingers resting against his chin as he stared. His other hand lay across the table in front of his chest, impatiently tapping at the frame. He breathed in and let out a sigh, but the Aspect still didn’t catch on to his waiting. His dim, green eyes flicked about the room, first resting on the window before him, then over to a nearby bookshelf where books that he couldn’t recognize sat, then over to the piles of parchment beside him. Some of his research notes, none of which helped him.

“I’m afraid…” Chromie finally began, “…that I am unsure of just what this was.”

Kardwel’s brow furrowed.

“So you can’t tell me either?” he asked bluntly.

Chromie glanced up and gave him a look.

“I’ve been trying.” She patiently said, “I can tell there is some kind of power related to the time-stream, but I cannot put my finger on what. Whatever it is, it is quite distant.”

She clasped her hand around the locket.

“Magic fades over time,” She explained, “But I know that it can leave…well, almost a residue. The stronger the magic, the more it leaves.”

“And?” Kardwel asked.

“Well, this has a time-magic residue.” Chromie abruptly stated, “Whatever it was, it had some of that magic.”

She placed the locket back on the table before the Paladin.

“I should have Alexstraza look at it.” She said, “Maybe she can tell us more.”

Kardwel nodded.

“I have far too many questions still.” He then paused, “If it had time magic in it, then I’m assuming it had something to do with her going back in time.”

Chromie shrugged.

“It could very well be that way. But, what if it was not her locket at all? What if it’s from someone who knew how to use time magic to their advantage?”

Kardwel’s eyebrows rose slightly. Here, Chromie had opened up a whole new slew of possibilities. And yet, more questions just flew into his head.

“This locket was the only thing remaining after Dispaya left.” He explained, “If there is magic in it, it must be magic pertaining to death. Or, perhaps it was a magic that enveloped her in a moment of increased time and it forced her to die. I am too unsure.”

Chromie nodded, “There are many possibilities to what it could be.”

A slight smirk began to spread across Kardwel’s face.

“There really is only one way to answer all the questions I have…”

Chromie crossed her arms, her expression becoming fearful of what the elf would ask for.

“And that would be?”

Kardwel sat up and breathed in.

“I have to go back in time.”

Chromie’s eyes closed and she appeared to be trying very hard not to just outright say no.

“You do know that is no simple task.” She opted for instead.

Kardwel eyed her.

“Of course not. But how else am I to get the answers I need?”

“Did you ever think maybe you were better off NOT knowing the answers?” Chromie asked.

Kardwel’s expression changed in an instant. His hand grabbed the locket and he thrust it towards the bronze dragon’s face.

“This thing has plagued me for weeks! Dispaya went back in time because she needed to pay back a favor to the Dragon Queen. A favor she did for ME. I will not sit idly by and forget her and all the mystery behind her!”

He rose up and threw the locket on the table now, his impatience finally getting the better of him.

“She is dead now and there is no bringing her back, the least you can do is let me know. Let me know why it all had to turn out the way it did!”
Chromie stared at Kardwel for some time who was now breathing heavier than before.

“Let me speak with Alexstraza first.”

Kardwel made a move as if to follow the bronze Aspect, which Chromie quickly interrupted.

“Alone.”

~~~

“Do you feel anything from it?”

Chromie watched Alexstraza’s reaction as the Queen felt the locket.

“I feel…a magic emanating from it.” She slowly said, “A mix of magics. Not just one or another. I also don’t feel pleased by it at all.”

The Red Queen shook her head.

“Whatever magic it was, it was placed there out of ill-will. Not for anything beneficial.”

Chromie sighed.

The two of them stood in the main chamber of the Temple while Kardwel waited outside the doors, most likely freezing in the northern snow.

“The elf wants to go back in time to figure everything out. Who knows what he’d mess up if I sent him back there.”

“This is odd.” Alexstraza pointed out.

“Hmm?” Chromie looked back at the locket.

“I feel a sort of…life magic.” The Queen said. “I can’t really tell what it is either, but I can certainly feel something familiar. Almost…” she paused and her eyes widened, “Actually, very similar to what I feel when Mister Gil’Light is near.”

“Well,” Chromie began to dismiss, “He is right outside the door.”

Alexstraza shook her head.

“No, this is the same but…also different. This is coming from the locket, not from anything else.”

Chromie’s expression turned quizzical.

“Are you sure?”

The Red Queen nodded.

“Perhaps…perhaps sending Mister Gil’Light back in time could answer not just his questions…”

Chromie sighed.

“I’ll get the door.” She said as she made her way across the room. Alexstrasza stood where she was, still feeling the locket with her dark fingers.

Kardwel stepped into the room, brushing snow out of his blond hair.

“Next time, let me sit in a room with a fire at least.” He spat.

“That,” Chromie chastised, “Is no way to speak to an Aspect that is seriously considering sending you back.”

Kardwel stopped short.

“Wait.” He said, “You’re actually going to do it?”

Chromie continued walking.

“It wasn’t you that did the convincing.” She nodded at Alexstrasza.

“She had a lot to do with it.”

Kardwel looked up at the Queen and gave her a formal bow.

“My lady.”

Alexstrasza looked up at him and gave a curt nod. She extended her hand and Kardwel stepped forward to once more receive the locket.

“I am unsure of what that is or what magic it once carried.” She stated, “However, I feel that in order to fully understand, maybe your trip back in time wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I myself would like to know who thinks they can wield such strong power. And, if that person is still alive.”

Kardwel’s eyes widened.

“So, you’re really going to do it?”

Chromie stepped forward.

“There is…some explaining that needs to be done first.”
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