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The change of fortune occurred precisely on the twenty first of May. I had missed the moon’s blood by nearly a fortnight, though I had thought nothing of it at the time. Such changes in cycle were common at my lengthening age, though I could not ignore the incessant nausea. I have never been ill as such in the entirety of my life, so that in itself was enough to raise a brow.

It was evening when I met with Lady Dawnstrike, and she, having been through the experience herself recently, was all too aware of my curious condition. The lady suggested that perhaps I was carrying a child, though she could not have known exactly how unlikely that would be. I rather kept my struggle with fertility a secret – a piece of knowledge shared only between my lovers and I. Though, I imagine it is not particularly difficult to arrive at such a conclusion, when a lady in such a position as myself in the Court did not produce an heir. Then again, most of the individuals in the Court are rather wanting for intelligence.

I nearly laughed off Lady Dawnstrike’s suggestion then, as I was wont to do to avoid exposing the terrible little flame of hope that her words might ring true. Too long had I struggled in this battle, and failed over and over again, each time breaking off pieces of the heart many do not think I have. It is my born purpose to continue my line, and when I continually failed to do so… well, I had little alternative but to fulfill my duty in the only other way – conscription in the military. Such was a turn of fate that I would never have expected from myself, a hundred years’ previous.

The first thought that crossed my mind upon rationalizing Lady Dawnstrike’s claim was this: How different would my life have been, if this had occurred two hundred years ago, when it was supposed to? Might I still be married to Hadrian? Would he have chosen to inflict the same pain upon me, if I had been able to produce an heir for him? I would not be the same woman that I am on this day; I have no doubts of that.

Truly, I struggled to hold myself together in that moment – it took all of my centuries of practice to remain composed in the Lady Dawnstrike’s presence.

The second, more grueling thought that arose is the fact that there is uncertainty regarding the child’s patronage. Though I had consistently been with the Lord Netherstar for months at the time of conception, my attention had a brief diversion to my terrible vice – the Captain – after which, I had become with child. The cause for the uncertainty is the fact that conception occurred shortly after this single evening, as opposed to any time in the span of my physical relationship with the bloodmage. I was admittedly concerned after the embarrassment both men would suffer, upon discovering the child was not his own.

More important than that, however, was my own turmoil at such a prospect. Despite the power behind my name, a child born out of wedlock would face staggering difficulties within the realm of Thalassian Aristocracy. Neither of the potential fathers are in definitively favorable positions in the Court – considering the dubious allegiances of Izulde and Vaelrin’s former status as an outlaw. Both do have noble blood to their name – Netherstar and Firestorm, though I am quite aware of the notion that the Captain will never return to the life of the Court as it were., and I have a duty to my house.

Most objective individuals would insist that I formally name the child as Netherstar, but they do not know the same facts about the bloodmage as I. Izulde, I am afraid, is of the same brand as myself. To some that may be a blessing – they may even seek such a thing in life, but for a woman such as I, it is only troubling. Such a thought was evident to me in the treacherous arrangements we partnered upon in the past year.

Termination of the pregnancy was simply not an option, so I, in my cowardice, retreated to my lands and hid for four months from the problems that faced me at Court.

Aside from the paternal figures, only Drissa, my unexpected midwife has been permitted audience with me. The Captain’s fondness for her is obvious, and perhaps gave cause for the impulse that directed hiring the creature. However timid, she has proven to be quite resourceful in assisting me with the struggles that accompany pregnancy. It is well that she fears me.

The Highlord as well is aware of my condition, and perhaps notified the Archon himself already, but the Dreadnaught deserves proper announcement from me, rather than hearing of my state by word of mouth… particularly given the relationship between himself and Izulde. I am far along enough now, however, that the curve of the child is obvious, and I cannot disguise it any longer.

I will have to step forth.

The slow burning dissent regarding the Warchief has granted me time to sit idly in my realm, but I do not doubt the ‘Guard will call upon me soon. I know I will be required to give what assistance I can, if I cannot participate in combat. I may yet assist the Dawnmenders, in the same way that I protected the minds of Telchis and Raserus from the suffering their bodies endured.

It is not well for my little heir to be present in a warzone, but that I cannot change in a world such as this. I can only hope that he or she will be born with a resilience in their heart to endure the barrages this world will throw.

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Another Commission!

Lady Azriah Thelryn – Done by Iseijin on Deviantart

Commission :)

Commission :)

I realized I forgot to post this. I bought it awhile back from the lovely artist RezKhanDimech.

The atrium held a serene atmosphere that was lost on the rest of Goldenshade Estate. Since the conclusion of the priestess’ transaction with the Lord Netherstar, the ancestral home of House Thelryn had been bustling with life, though this requisite space held only the presence of the Lady Azriah herself. She was seated on a mattress by the side of the small, green-stone pool, with a silver tray bearing water and fruits at hand. Her hair was arranged into loose obsidian coils at the top of her head, held in place with sticks of emerald set in silver, and she was clothed in a morning robe of midnight-hued silk. Where the sleeves ended at her elbows, bruises could be seen marring her pale flesh. Though her fair skin spoke of her nobility, her arms were toned with sinewy muscle – something that was a far cry from the soft, jiggly flesh of the ladies at court.

Her tapering ears were held at a relaxed position, and her fel-tainted eyes were fastened on the stationary that laid atop her thighs. She reached toward the bowl to pop a strawberry in her mouth, and let out a long sigh as she picked up the quill and dipped it in the inkpot. She touched it to the parchment, where it made a deep blot – something that could be found on everything she wrote. It seemed that blot was necessary for her to gather her thoughts, before she could begin writing in that lovely, elegant script of hers.

Reader, there are those who believe nobility and soldiery are mutually exclusive to one another. They forget that in the beginning, it was battle prowess that marked superiority in social standing. ‘Nobility is a forgotten institution’, they mutter. Have they forgotten that it is we who provide homes and direct the flow of local economies? I said this to Dawnward Cere’thien: I am Matriarch of my House – mother to my serfs, they give me coin, and I give them life. The concept was lost on the woman, as it is upon many. The lords and ladies whom they love to hate are those who are not meant for the title. Indeed, I do privately share their ire – little is more aggravating to myself than one who parades about with a title they have not earned. Lord Netherstar saw the truth of this, in my decision to aid his personal affair. 

Last ‘eve, I attended the Harbinger’s training. I daresay I was a better soldier than the rest – not a single complaint passed through my lips, however much I desired to harm the Emberwards who continued to speak out their distaste. They have not learned yet, that to voice their disdain is to bring about hardship to the rest of us. I believe the Harbinger finds it amusing, and I might as well if I were not suffering for their ignorance. I hate every moment of the exercises, but I do recognize that they are necessary for success in the field of battle. The Alliance do not stop to question whether or not we enjoy sloshing through the mud. Stealing the lives of the damned humans gives me a great sense of vindication. I place upon them all the wretched, sneering faces of ones called Garithos and their Gods-forsaken scourge prince. No mercy will be had for those who did not afford our blood the same luxury. Ninety percent of our blood was murdered, and it pains me, runs a dagger through my heart, and kindles the worst of rages to say the same ratio held true to my own house. What RIGHT have they to question my will to be within this order? My oath was taken with blood, and will be held for the entirety of my life. 

The priestess paused at this point in her writing to take a few moments to quell her anger with deep breathing. Her vivid eyes blazed, and tendrils of shadow danced about her form like snakes to a charmer. Her pretty mouth was curled with contempt, and once again she touched the quill to the parchment and scratched furiously away.

I spit in the face of all who doubt my devotion. Their weakness will be revealed on the field of battle, while I am cutting down the mongrels of the Alliance with my shadows. Those who would endanger my people are my enemies, and it is becoming evident that there are more enemies to be found in Azeroth than allies.

Commission (NSFW)

Commission (NSFW)

This is Lady Azriah with her lover, Izulde Netherstar. I am in love with this.

It was getting to be a late hour in the night, and the duelist had taken it upon herself to colour her hair – something to occupy herself in an inn room that offered little more than a bed, washbasin, table and mirror. The warm glow of candles kept the darkness at bay, and there were various bowls along with mortar and pestle strewn all about the room. To humour the monumentally messy task of dying her hair, Iseulte wore a simple over-sized linen shirt, whose pristine white colour was lost in splats of dried crimson paste. Presently, she was standing before a mirror smearing the herb paste on her scalp, and long ears that had been stained by the dye flickered as she listened to the sounds of the tavern below. 

Light-footed steps on wooden stairs jarred her attention from her task, and her fel-tainted gaze snapped to the door as a knock sounded sharply. The duelist hesitated, unsightly as she was – what with the hair paste and the stained shirt – but before she could call out a greeting, a sealed letter was slipped beneath the door. Those footsteps turned away then, and grew fainter as they descended to the tavern. Iseulte blinked owlishly and made a grunt in her throat; letters were not something she received often. She thrust her hands into the washbasin and scrubbed the paste off in the cool water, all the while squinting to see the seal on the envelope from afar. Finally, she stood and wiped her hands dry on the unfortunate shirt, and strode swiftly to pick up the letter.

There was no question of recognizing her brother’s errant scrawl, even before she started to read the content of the letter. At the recognition, her heart picked up pace and her breath caught in her throat. The excitement of her breaking the wax seal tore a small hole in the parchment, but the duelist paid no heed as her jade eyes drank in the penned words. She walked to her bed where she flopped to the middle of the mattress as she read, and the movement jarred a stray lock of golden hair – missed by the crimson dye – into her face.

Iseulte might have read the letter at least three times before formulating a response. She rifled through a satchel and withdrew ink, a quill, parchment, and the gold flame upon blood-red field of the Sunguard tabard. She settled at the ancient desk with a candle to light the parchment, though the paling sky outside the window was bound to render the candle unnecessary. 

Brother,

I’ll have your head the next time you make any attempt to disappear on me! The time has seemed short but for every moment of it, I swear to you my heart bled. Mother has come to accept my status as a soldier, particularly with my enrollment in a particular order – which I’ll get to in a few moments. Though she ages by the day, she is lovely and far too stubborn to pass on. Dyanae is … herself. 

However, Lasrodin, a warrior of the Light? By the Sun, I never thought I’d witness such a thing! And here I always looked to you as my idol for dueling. Well then, no matter. I shall not mock you for your discoveries. I’d like to try my hand at sparring. You are not the only one who has been learning new things, brother.

After floundering about the destroyed villages from the Shattering, I chose to return to Silvermoon City. There I found a call to arms for a private military organization known as The Sunguard. They are the elite soldiers of Quel’thalas, and have cowed the Alliance into such submission that none dare test their might beyond small skirmishes in the forests. Felthier Truefeather leads the organization, and if the name sounds familiar it is because we met his son, you and I, during the Third War.

Speaking of his son, the war effort against the Kirin Tor has lead to the necessity of my taking upon an apprenticeship to become a Spellbreaker. Telchis and I train relentlessly, and allow me to say, I have a newfound respect for anyone who can effectively wield a shield. Wretched chunks of wood, they are. I am far too accustomed to my claymore. There is little more that I love in this world more than combat, brother. I find swordsmanship consumes most of my days – if I am not actively in the defense of our lands, I am performing dueling the lordlings at their dinners for coin and free food. That is, I live by my own hand now.

Nonetheless, Lasrodin, the Argent Crusade was a noble faction during the war against the Scourge, but now time has proven that relations with the Alliance are on the descent.

You will find enclosed the tabard of the Sunguard. 

Come home, brother, and join a worthy cause.

With love and the Sun’s blessings,

Ise

 

Thus satisfied with what she wrote, the duelist compiled a package and brought it down to the Innkeep where it would be delivered by mid-morning.

The Bard, an Introduction.

I sometimes shudder to think of the millenia to which I have stood witness. The spirit of my companion, Valar, has existed in more creatures, whose life spans are but the blink of an eye, than I can recall. The ghosts of the Tor Melarorah live in my thoughts as if this stay in Telaar is but a resting place in our travels, and yet in the same moment, they are distant as Argus itself, and in their absence, the hollowness of the village is exacerbated.

Seated thus on a carved stump, the simply garbed draenei strummed a single experimental note on the lute and cast a glance around the vacant inn. The draenei’s only audience was her dogged companion and the remote Caregiver. Isel looked up to the bard, from polishing a wine glass, and the ghost of a smile curled the corner of her mouth. “Play a song for an old innkeeper, will you?” This request was met with a sly grin from the bard herself, and she assented with a brief nod.

The pale bard shifted her long fingers on the neck of the lute and regarded the newly arrived dwarf with a speculative gaze. Another strum of the lute sounded, and she drew in a breath. alien as the Draenei was – although perhaps not on this planet – it was an odd sound that originated from her chest. Low and resonant, her voice slid into the melody of the song, and when it formed to words, they echoed across the vast chamber.

“We drink to our youth, to ages come and gone

For the eon of oppression is now surely done…”

The first notes of that song were slow, and if an audience was present, the familiarity of the tune would have picked up the atmosphere. It was a melody that was common, whose original lyrics adapted many a time to fit various occasions. Rhythmic plucking of the chords brought forth the next verse, which the minstrel sang out,

“We’ll drive out Sargeras from this realm we call home,

with our blood and our faith we will take what we own.”

The Caregiver grimaced at the sound of the accursed name, and the bard herself could feel the ghosts of paranoid viewers from audiences past. Something flickered in those oceanic eyes of hers, and with the melody picking up pace, she launched into the chorus.

“All hail the Light! To its praise the Prophet sings,

as the Naaru bear us atop their own wings.

We’re the chosen of Salvation, yet we fight all our lives,

And when the Legion does find us, every one of us dies…”

The dissonant notes wove through the chorus and came to an abrupt halt with the last word in the verse. This was the moment where dead silence, followed by raucous laughter would fill the air. As it were, to the Caregiver who heard the song a dozen times, only the faintest of smirks was given, and the wolf at the bard’s side snorted in his sleep.

The foreign minstrel carried on nonetheless. The cavities of nose and lungs lent the song a resonant air, and the bangles on her wrists jingled with each movement of her arm. The chorus was thence repeated, seceding a particularly detailed note by the lute, and the bard settled in for the final verse, as there was no particular need for the song to go on for any length of time.

“This world is ours, and we’ll see it wiped clean…”

Her voice traveled throughout the vaulted ceilings of the inn, and with a few more chords plucked from the lute, she concluded very softly,

“Of the scourge that has sullied our hopes and our dreams.”

With the closing of the melody, the bard cradled the bowl of the lute in her lap and turned her head toward the Caregiver, who erupted into an appreciative applause for the lonesome performance. “That was lovely,” Isel assured, and the bard met the compliment with a slight bowing of the head and a faint smile. “It was no particular trouble.”