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Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 12:09 am
by Naunet
"Ah, in that case..." Shifting slightly so that her satchel was accessible, though she didn't step away fully from Dhein, Antimony dropped her arm from his back to search around in it. A moment later, she retrieved one of the vials Aztal had made use of. "We've fresh samples to work with, including clippings of the plant itself, which should be quite interesting. We can use them to determine if there have been any local changes in the magic." She paused only a moment, not even long enough for a breath, which made sense because she had no need for any. "The plant was alive and well, precisely where we left it last. None of the Tauren I spoke to seemed concerned by it, or even aware of its existence. It had definitely grown larger, though, which I suppose is only logical if it has been undisturbed."

Dhein listened to this, watching Antimony's face, but was silent. He blinked, smiling, waiting for more, awkwardly.

"I couldn't take exact measurements at the time, which would likely have been useful as we could then calculate an estimated growth rate and compare it to our own specimen, but it had grown enough to fill up the entire canopy of that small clearing. The energy we've become familiar with was present there in truly incredible concentrations, as well, and I took the time to attempt an examination of it..." Trailing off in her excited monologue, Antimony twisted again to reach into her satchel. There was the rustle of paper and then she extracted a single roll of parchment, slightly bent and crumpled from the weight of the vials. Shaking it out, she opened it towards Dhein. "This is what we got instead."

Dhein gave the paper a look, seeing not measured examinations but vaguely familiar script. "I'm not sure I follow."

"That's quite alright. I'm not entirely sure I do yet, either." She took a half a step back, enough room to gesture vaguely with the hand holding the parchment. She didn't need to look at it to remind herself of its contents. Though she hadn't been able to see it when she'd wrote it, the strange, heavy lines rose to the forefront of her mind readily. "I reached out to the magic as usual - there's only so much that distant observation can do, after all - and... well. It was almost like... it spoke? Or, not spoke, but, hm, communicated. Aztal could read it but not translate it."

"Claiming that this spell is magic is communicating is unsettling." Dhein stepped back, lifting a hand towards the paper in Antimony's hand. "May I see it?"

"Certainly." She handed the paper to him and then added vaguely to the room around them, "Did you not say you had books on this subject, Aztal?"

Aztal jabbered, wobbling over towards Dhein. He pointed at the paper. "Aqir."

Dhein looked down at Aztal. "What language is that?" He looked at the script on the page. "What language is this?"

"Azjol'Nerub." The imp seemed to cough. "Ahn'Qiraj."

"What have I told you about dropping into dialects I don't know?"

"The ancient cities of the Aqir!" Aztal jumped up and down. Then he made the sounds agian, "Ag naus. Ag ssaggh. Ag uovssh."

Dhein struck him with the butt of his staff, sending the imp sprawling. "Aztal! Eredar is one thing but you'll not utter that language without permission."

"Ah, a moment now!" Antimony lifted one hand. "He was only reciting what is on the paper. It is a rather ugly language, though."

"Ugly describes it about as well as the word 'big' describes a mountain." Dhein folded the paper so that he could not see the script, and he held it before him in gesture. "Antimony, I'm not sure what the script is, but it's older than any written language used by the Horde or Alliance. Likely older than the Burning Legion."

Aztal squawked. "Debateable!"

Folding one arm across her chest and setting her opposite elbow upon is so that she could rest her chin in one hand, Antimony hummed in quiet acknowledgement. "I suppose it had to be unusual, considering how unusual the plant and its magic are. You know of this language?"

"The Aqir were sentient bugs. They were known for worshipping evil gods and wars with the Trolls, which honestly describes most of Azeroth's primordial civilization. This language appears in texts referencing the Aqir, but it's not the Aqiri language itself." Dhein brought the script back near to him, considering the blank part of the page that he could see. "Aztal can make the sounds."

The imp squawked when he was referenced, proud of himself.

"But he doesn't know what they mean."

"Yes, he implied as such before." Pursing her lips, Antimony watched Dhein's and the paper in alternation. "He did say there may be books enough to translate in the ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, but that's rather... impossible to access. Unfortunate."

Dhein shrugged. "Ahn'Qiraj was entered once by a military force several years go. It was quite the campaign. I doubt anyone took the time to loot any meaningful literature, however. The Nerubians, on the other hand, may be more approachable and have analogous materials."

"Approachable?" Antimony's nose wrinkled dubiously.

Pulling on his beard, Dhein nodded. "Depending on one's relationship with the Scourge, of course. Rather, there might be some rare remnants of Nerubian literature in the area of Lordaeron."

Antimony's expression soured at Dhein's first sentence, but softened with cautious curiosity as he continued. "I certainly don't recall... Nerubians in Lordaeron."

"The Scourge utilized Nerubians extensively in the early days of the Cult of the Damned, and more recently during the war in Northrend." Dhein's tone was academic, describing the details of some favored subject. "It's no accident that the Scourge's buildings are so unsettling. The Nerubians are descendants of the ancient Aqir, and the Scourge's Necropoli are built to evoke the terror incited by the Aqir's timelost gods."

"Hm." She wondered silently if she should have thought to study up on history more, but then... that was not a time she had ever had much desire to recall in any way, shape, or form. Still... "You think we might find something there, then? I suppose it couldn't hurt to look."

"I don't know." Dhein shrugged. "You can probably tell me more concerning the Forsaken's attitudes about Scourge libraries they might have captured or inherited. I've rather tried to avoid looking back on those events."

"... As have I," Antimony muttered and fell into a thoughtful silence, tapping her chin.

"All of that said." Dhein gestured with the object in his hand. "This is very unsettling. What kind of analysis were you doing that ended with you writing out script that you could never have seen before?"

"Nothing I haven't done a hundred times before." Antimony tilted her head slightly, gesturing with her free hand. "A simple channeling of the ambient energy around the plant. At any rate, it certainly wasn't harmful - as innocuous as any of my other charts, in terms of threat."

At that, Dhein lifted an eyebrow. "Schools of magic which speak to their practitioners generally fall into a certain pattern. You should know what I mean."

"I am certainly no worse for wear," Antimony countered.

Nonetheless, Dhein, proceeded, "Magics with a will come with a lot attached to them. The Light. Fel. Name any others you know of."

"Not necessarily harmful, though." Antimony lifted one finger. "What are your concerns, precisely?"

His eyebrows lifted at that. "You honestly don't see any issue of communing with and writing the prophecies of a supernatural force whose will we do not understand?"

"That's not what I said, Dhein. I asked you for your concerns."

"My concerns revolve around communing with an unknown energy that has negatively affected you in the past." He pulled at his beard. "Yes, I don't think I'm comfortable with that."

Antimony huffed. "I did not experience any negative side effects in the Overgrowth. Regardless, I did nothing different from what I did for a year to get us where we are now."

"I think you'll find that does not negate my concerns, nor is it reasonable to suspect it would. Such approaches were appropriate to Arcane, and the fact that they were not adjusted when the Arcane became Fel is one mistake the Sin'Dorei could have avoided."

"I suppose I wouldn't oppose additional cautions. But we should keep in mind the history of it."

"Of course we should. But nothing good will come of letting a magical force use you to dictate a treatise. Especially one we cannot translate. Before you use that technique again, we need to learn more about it."

Antimony smiled at that. "Of course. I am quite curious to know what to make of it."

Dhein's tone stayed straight, thoughtful. "In the meantime, we'll have to find another way of proceeding. We can make comparisons between what you witnessed in the Overgrowth and what is happening here, at least."

"Ah, yes! Have there been any developments with the spells we put in place here?"

"I'm not sure if this will surprise you, but the magical schools you and I used have been slowly losing their flavor, replaced instead with the energy of the plant. As though they were warming or cooling to the temperature of the air." Dhein turns and gestures to the enchantments that Antimony had prepared. "This may simply be an accelerated degradation; except for the shapes of the enchantments themselves have not changed. The spells are intact. It is merely the underlying energy that has changed."

Antimony hummed at that and stepped over to one of the sprouts she recalled casting an enchantment upon. "No, not surprising, but... certainly interesting." Bending down slightly, she almost brought her staff to bear before remembering their agreement from only moments ago and setting the bottom of it down deliberately. She pursed dry lips. "No degradation at all? Hm, there should at least be some on these enchantments. I wonder if that is related to the... unexpected duration of the endurance spell."

"There may be a certain longevity to the energy. Such an attribute is not unheard of." Dhein cross his arms over his own staff as he watched Antimony. "It is interesting that it does not apply to the energy when used to cast active spells. You may recall the diffuse nature of the channeled energy and shield."

"Yes. It does not have a native, defined pattern to it - rather, piggy-backs off of others." She straightens with a small, satisfied noise. "We'll need to watch these for a time more."

"Until they expire, is my intention." He gestured vaguely towards the Fel enchantments he'd placed. "The curses I cast there would normally have dispersed long ago. Their permanence is notable."

Antimony glanced towards the indicated plants before turning back around to face Dhein. "Well then, how might you propose we learn more about this writing, hm? Aztal suggested there may be some relevant books in the library."

"Obviously a field trip to the Undercity vault of rare and ancient books, is called for." Dhein said this with a shrug, as if it was the simplest thing in the world, and paced over to the table. He ran a hand over it, feeling the lingering greasiness of Fel. "Is there such a place?"

"Ah..." Antimony winced and set both hands around her staff. "No. The Undercity is not exactly conducive to... the preservation of books."

"Surely they must have..." Dhien gazed back, pondering. "The Apothecarium? Too dank. Perhaps an outlying town."

"Perhaps. The Sepulcher or Brill."

"The sepulcher." Dhein tugged at his beard. "Does that name... sound comfortable, to a Forsaken?"

"Comfortable?" Antimony blinked once. "I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."

"The Sin'Dorei tend to name their towns cheerful names. Some-odd Haven or Delightful Bastion or... Such." He shrugged.

"Ah." Antimony stood in silence for a moment before inclining her head slightly in realization. "Oh. Well, I suppose it does sound rather... dour. But it is accurate. Does it make you uncomfortable?"

"No." Dhein lifted one hand and shook his head, ears swinging. "I'm just thinking if it's the kind of place the Forsaken would keep a library. Surely the Forsaken have a concept of collecting and maintaining tomes. And they don't seem the type to burn the records of the Scourge out of malice."

"No." Casting her gaze down briefly, Antimony frowned upon her staff. Then she looked up with a very slight shrug of her thin shoulders. "I am simply unsure where such things would be. It would be easy enough to ask around, however."

"As simple as searching the Overgrowth." Dhein smirked.

"The searching was quite simple." Antimony cocked one brow.

"But you see what I'm getting at."

Pressing her lips together, the undead woman tapped the bottom of her staff against the floor in a mild display of frustration. "I do. Mm, it's possible taking a zeppelin would be easier than the caravan, but... what if we sent Aztal to look?"

"An imp certainly has less to fear in the Undercity than in any other city I can think of." He looked toward Aztal. "What do you think Aztal? Can you find the kind of book we're looking for, not knowing where the library is?"

The imp rolled its head and jabbered in annoyed Eredun.

Dhein put his hands on his hips. "Now's not the time to be disparaging, Aztal. You're still in hot water for how you behaved on your trip with Antimony."

"You've enough to start with." Antimony glanced towards the imp. "Of course, it would be very disappointing if you came back with nothing."

Aztal squawked annoyingly, tossing his hands up in the air. "Get the books we already have first!"

Dhein crossed his arms stubbornly. "I don't like those books. They won't help us translate anyway."

"Now hold on, Aztal did mention these books earlier. I wouldn't mind taking a look at them while he's off on this errand." Antimony lifted one finger. "It would be efficient."

Dhein rolled his eyes, "But if we do that every time we'll always be delayed. I have books on everything, if one is vague enough."

Aztal rolled his eyes at Dhein's rolling eyes.

"Delayed in what? We are hardly going to read about /everything/ - only this particular topic." The light in Antimony's eye sockets flickered as she tilted her head to one side.

"Yes, you start with this thing. But it's a gateway thing." Dhein gestured emphatically. "Then before you know it you stop having Aztal bring books and just want to go peruse my library personally."

"Well." Antimony blinked once. "You say that as though it were a bad thing."

"Why would you read a less comprehensive book if it means delaying the retrieval of a book that has more information in it?"

Aztal squawked, "I'm getting the books!" and then vanished in a puff of green fire.

"Ah!" Dhein spun on the fading whisps of Fel. "Loathsome minion."

"How do you know it is less comprehensive?" Antimony lifted one brow, mouth quirking. "Perhaps they will cover different facets of the subject. You do not even know what we may find, if anything, in Lordaeron."

Taking a moment compose is annoyance, Dhein turned to Antimony and said, "I'm not even sure what Aztal recalls. At most it will be a brief appendix or so, considering the incredible lack of knowledge on that particular subject. Few even suspect the existence of the Aqir, given how deeply Ahn'Qiraj is buried in the southern wastes."

"We will just have to see what comes of it." Antimony hummed to herself in thought, fingers tapping precisely against the length of her staff.

"I suppose we will." Dhein put one hand on his hip and flicked his bangs out of his face. As they drifted back, they fell across one eyebrow and arced precisely over his eyes. Dhein's shoulders slouched and fixed his hair back behind his head. "What did you find out about the plant's long-term growth? Do you know what we should expect here?"

Antimony took the change of subject in stride, satisfied with leaving things as they were for now. "It certainly did not seem to have been hampered in any way" She turned her face towards the specimen in the center of their room, giving it a considering look. "It was difficult to tell precisely in the dark, but I would estimate it had grown to be at least double my height."

Dhein looked up towards the center of the room to envision such a change. "Well, we certainly can't expect such in this room."

"No. At least I hope not, or we will have difficult explanations ahead of us." She pondered a moment. "Perhaps that is why it is growing outward so much here."

"Did you see less outgrowth there?"

"As I said, it was difficult to tell in the dark. Perhaps, though... the briar around it was still there, even thicker than a year ago." Antimony shook her head slightly. "Regardless of how, it seems we can expect more growth, unless there is something quite different here."

"Dryer soil, dryer air, different temperature, less sunlight..." Dhein listed slowly, thinking.

Antimony nodded. "Certainly different conditions. Time will tell further."

"I don't suppose you have any data that will be useful in regards to... hm..." Dhein turned to the records they'd been collecting, and chose Antimony's recordings on the plant's energy. "This here? Comparisons, I mean."

"Unfortunately..." Antimony looked off to one side for a moment before turning her face back towards Dhein and gesturing to the brief record she'd shown him. "That paper was all I could manage when I attempted to channel the energy enough to make just such recordings."

Dhein lifted one eyebrow. "So it co-opted your normal evaluation methods, obscuring our analysis in favor of communication?"

"So it seems," Antimony replied neutrally. "I had thought to try again, but then we were distracted."

"What a self-important magic." Dhein shook his head in exasperation. "To assume that whatever it was trying to say was more important than what you were trying to do."

"Indeed." Antimony looked briefly torn between mutual disapproval and amusement at Dhein's reaction. Then she shook herself, adjusting her posture and dress. "All the more reason to make the most out of what we did manage to retrieve, though."

"If only we had some means of objective measure beyond the sway of subjective magical wills." Careful fingers straightened slender eyebrows. "I'll likely never stop being bitter about that."

"Hm?" Quirking her brow, Antimony gave Dhein a curious look.

He waved it away. "Never mind. not a helpful thought."

"Ah." She paused, turning her hands loosely around her staff. "Well, no matter. Shall we get to making use of the time before Aztal returns?"

Dhein exhaled a brief sight through his nose before he inclined his head. "What do you have in mind?"

"First, I presume you know which books in our library may be useful in learning more about that message."

"Well, yes, but Aztal's already on his way to get those books."

"I thought we had come to an agreement that it was worthwhile inspecting the others while we wait for him." Antimony tilted her head towards Dhein expectantly.

Dhein eyed the ceiling. "Ah, I see." Then he looked at Antimony. "The books in question which are in our possession remain in my study in Corin's Crossing. Nerubian anatomy. Not previously applicable. Given Aztal's disagreeable exit, I assume he has gone to get those, and will not go to search the Undercity until he has returned and received due punishment."

Antimony pursed her lips at that, and her body went through the physical motions of a sigh though no air passed through her shriveled lungs. "I see. Hm."

"Hopefully it takes a few hours." Dhein said, nodding. "Well, not because I... don't want to... I mean. Well." He shrugged.

"You don't want to..." Antimony spoke slowly, trailing off with a speculative tilt of her head. Then she stepped forward, crossing the distance between them in a few steps before stopping just in front of him. She lifted one hand from her staff to rest it upon his chest. "Once this nonsense with Garrosh blows over, we shall mount an expedition together to visit the plant again, hm? Aztal was helpful, but he was certainly no replacement."

At that, Dhein smiled. "That sounds excellent, especially in a voice as melodic as yours. I doubt Garrosh will be trouble for long. Men like him hold so fast to their power that it shatters."

Antimony nodded in agreement. Then, with some self-conscious hesitation, she leaned forward to rest her weight against Dhein. Yellow light flickered with a blink. "Good. Meanwhile... Hm, perhaps I should channel the magic here, to check if perhaps the communication only happens at the original location in the Overgrowth."

Looking down at Antimony, Dhein smirked. "I admire your commitment to productivity, but recall how repeatedly casting the same spell seems to increase its effectiveness. I don't want it communicating with you no matter the case." He plucked at her dress. "Might I tactfully recommend, realizing that sleep is not necessary, that the lady relaxes in a bath which I will graciously prepare on her behalf."

"What." Antimony leaned back slightly. "Are you suggesting I am dirty?" She probably was, but that didn't preclude the put-upon expression that crossed her face.

"I'm suggesting," Dhein's composure remained undaunted, "That perhaps you should take a break."

Antimony huffed at that. "A break. I could hardly..." She hesitated, watching Dhein's expression for several moments, before finally rolling her gaze to one side. A small smile pushed at one corner of her mouth. "... Very well. But if Aztal so much as sets one toe inside this place..."

"I will immediately send him off to Undercity while you finish your bath." Dhein responded, sternly.

"I cannot be held responsible for my actions if he misbehaves," Antimony warned and then turned to one side to glance around the room.

Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 12:18 am
by Naunet
Dhein dutifully prepared the bath for Antimony, which meant placing the small makeshift basin they possessed in the center of the room and excusing himself to fetch water for her. The one good thing about living in Orgrimmar was that, even when the groundwater was cold, it had always warmed comfortably by the time one hauled it back home. He was gone fetching water for around fifteen minutes bewfore he returned, easing his way into the room with averted gaze. "Are you decent, beloved? I've brought the water."

"Yes," came Antimony's immediate reply. She had elected to not undress while Dhein was gone, not too keen on the thought of him (or that imp) barging in unexpectedly. She stood at the table, having been studying the paper with its strange script while Dhein had gone.

The elf stepped into the room and pushed the door shut behind him. "Well, why? The water's going to start getting cold again now that it's back in this chilly room. Better to start your bath while it's still warm."

Turning from the table, Antimony gestured towards Dhein. "Pour it and turn quickly, then." Her lips quirked.

Quirking an eyebrow, Dhein walked his way to the basin and poured the water in. "Why turn? I would be you careful attendant if permitted."

"Ah, my attendant?" Yellow eyes flickered, and she stepped carefully towards the basin, hands clasped down at her waist. "It's not appropriate for an attendant to see a woman undress herself."

"That depends on the nature of the attendant." Dhein said, setting the bucket aside. "I've known some Sin'Dorei who cannot get dressed or undressed without several sets of helping hands."

"I am not Sin'Dorei." Antimony pursed her lips, arching her brows expectantly. "Allow me this modesty."

"Of course, milady." Dhein turned his back to Antimony, pacing away from her.

Inclining her head, Antimony watched Dhein's back as he stepped away. When he was at a distance she deemed sufficient, she let her posture shrink slightly under a nervous weight. The buttons of her dress came undone at an unsteady pace. Her eyes flicked towards the shallow water of the basin, then Dhein's back, as she slipped off her clothes. The chill of the room seemed to fill the gaps in her skin and exposed bone and muscle all the more once the cloth was gone. She folded the dress carefully, trying not to look at any part of herself, and then set the clothing aside.

"Alright now," she spoke quietly, turning to face the basin instead of Dhein.

Dhein turned back, smiling. "I can take care of your clothes for you."

"Hm, that would be very kind." She thought for a moment and then added, "Do we have a rag of some sort?"

"Yes." Dhein said, almost before thinking. He was sure he had something. Probably silk, even. he stepped forward to take up Antimony's clothes. "Give me a moment and I'll fetch it."

Nodding, Antimony found herself just standing awkwardly next to the basin, watching the water. "Soaking is not a pleasant sensation when you... ah, well. I would prefer to just use a cloth."

"Oh." So, maybe not silk, if she wanted something absorbent. "I might have left the water in the buck, then, so you could stand in the basin. Would've kept the floor from getting wet." Carrying her clothes, he went to the shelves and began to look through his own clothing.

"Oh... right." Antimony's mouth twisted. "Well, nothing to be done for it now. Perhaps the water will be good for the plant or somesuch."

"I'm sure it will." Dhein left Antimony's clothes off to one side. He took a white cotton undershirt of his, pulled the ties from the collar, and turned it inside-out so that Antimony wouldn't recognize what it was. Then he folded it into a small square and carried it to her. "Here we go."

"Thank you." Antimony accepted the cloth with a half look from the corner of her eyes before bending to soak it in the water. She frowned at the feeling of lukewarm water seeping into the small gaps along her hands and tried not to let herself become too distracted by Dhein's presence close by as she wrung the cloth out. She set it to her skin without looking.

Dhein circled back to the shelves. "Do we have soap?"

"... I believe that was a part of our initial stores, yes." Though she couldn't recall where they'd put it away.

Pulling on his beard, Dhein thought about where they'd store soap. They had no place for bathing items, and it was not with his modest hygiene supplies. Was it a reagent for anything magical? Or perhaps a base ingredient. It was a plant oil, wasn't it? Dhein went digging into the Fel supplies.

Antimony worked the cotton cloth over herself, grimacing at the way the water gained a greyish, clouded color to it as she went. She didn't like the way it made her flesh feel spongey, but this was a necessary evil; she hadn't realized she was so filthy. Out of the corner of her eyes, she watched Dhein search, half turned away from him.

Finally, Dhein produced a round bottle of oil that smelled like soap to him. It was coagulated enough. "I think I've found it!" He turned proudly towards Antimony.

"You are certain?" Of course, she should trust Dhein to know what soap was, but he could be... Her shoulders rose and fell in the motions of a sigh. "Bring it here, then. Thank you."

"You're very welcome, love. Would you like me to work up a lather of it in your hair?"

Antimony's eyes widened slightly, turned down to the cloth in her hands. "Well." Dipping it in the water, she wrung it out carefully over her head, dampening her hair. She had to close her eyes tight or risk an even more uncomfortable mishap than water under her skin. Her mouth twitched. "... I will allow it."

Dhein chuckled at that. He hadn't expected acceptance, but once he had it, he happily took some soap to massage into Antimony's hair. He was careful with this, suspecting that any hair Antimony lost would be permanently gone. "You've always had very good hair." He put the bottle of soap aside.

Dhein's fingers in her hair was distracting in both a good and a bad way. She worried what he might feel as his hands rubbed gently over her scalp, but then this closeness was also almost... comforting. She kept her eyes shut and tried to focus on the latter, ducking her head slightly at his words and clearing her throat. "Hm. Well, I do... try."

It was when Dhein's hands were deeply lathered in Antimony's hair that a solid, but unhurried, knocking fell upon the door of the home. Dhein nonetheless started at it. "What?"

Antimony lifted her head, eyes snapping towards the door. Her arms lifted to move across the front of her body instinctively, and her brow pulled down in a confused frown. "Did you send for something while you were out fetching water?" She doubted it very much, but the presence of someone at their door was strangely disturbing.

"No." Dhein freed his hands from Antimony's hair, walking around to the basin to dip them and rinse the soap off of them. "I try to avoid having anything brought here. Especially since we found out about. All the problems."

The knocking came again.

"Well. They're certainly not getting in here, whoever they are," Antimony said with a huff, remaining by the basin and holding her arms tighter to her body. "Send them away."

Dhein walked to the door, standing with his face very close to it. He proclaimed. "We're very busy! Go away."

The voice that replied from the other side was deep. "I will wait."

Antimony made a face. "Well, I hardly want someone looming outside our home while I..."

Dhein spread his arms in a helpless gesture, and then looked back at the door. "Is it extremely important?"

The answer that came was dire. "It is more important than the door that stands in my way, as well as my dwindling sense of courtesy."

Standing, Antimony marched towards the door until she was close enough to raise her voice so it might be heard clearly on the other side, "You will demonstrate patience and even greater courtesy, visitor, or you will learn what it is like to walk in on a lady indisposed!"

Low laughter seeped through the door.

Dhein turned to face Antimony. "Your viciousness may be fearsome, but I think it unwise to provoke our visitor."

"This is rather unacceptable, Dhein." Still, Antimony took a step back from the door, and then another. She ran a hand through her hair, and then grimaced when it came away covered in lather. "Ridiculous," she muttered. "Can you speak to him outside? I... will make myself presentable."

"I'll do that." Dhein said, nodding, and then turned to the door. "I will step outside and speak to you outside, okay?" When no answer came, he opened the door a very modest crack and slipped out.

Antimony let out another huff, glaring towards the door a moment longer before returning to the basin. She had to lean over it practically doubled over to rinse her hair out, taking great care not to get excess water in any unnecessary places. Once her hair was well rinsed, Antimony would seek out her clothes. As she did all this, she strained to listen to what may be going on beyond the door.

Brief conversation took place outside the door, muffled voices, and then silence. Little to listen to.

Antimony dressed quickly, skin still slightly damp as she buttoned up her dress. Her hair clung to her head in wet clumps, which she was sure was horribly unflattering, so she hastened to pull her fingers through it a bit as she stepped towards the door.

Squaring her jaw and lifting her chin, Antimony opened the door - just a crack, as Dhein had done, for she had no desire to show their work to anyone - and slipped outside before looking for Dhein.

As soon as Antimony appeared, Dhein toward her with a smile. "Oh, finally. This woman has refused to say anything meaningful without both us being here." He gestured to the orc that stood with him.

The orc woman looked at neither of them. Garbed in purple and black cloth pants and shirt, with purple skullcap covering her face from the cheeks up, she rolled her green face in the general direction of the door. "It is good you found the time to speak with me."

Empty eye sockets flickered with a blink as Antimony looked between Dhein and the orc woman. She pursed her lips worriedly. Was this woman part of Hellscream's group? "What do you want with us?"

The woman's blind head tilted. "I represent the Arm of Kalimdor. Do you know what that means?"

"No." Dhein crossed his arms.

"We monitor and ensure the loyalty and strength of Hellscream's Horde." The woman did not gesture, and her tone was not altogether hostile. "But that is not why I have come. I encountered troubling magic while in the Eastern Kingdoms several nights previous. I saw that it originated from this place."

Antimony's eyelids sunk into the empty pits of her sockets when she blinked slowly, and a frown pulled at her brow. "Troubling?" She cast a brief glance towards Dhein. "I cannot imagine what it is you sensed."

"Yes." Dhein straightened an eyebrow. "No idea."

The Orc leaned forward, though not toward anyone. Her broad face frowned. "A Warlock's Eye perused a bloodied street where I walked. And yet, it was not Fel that composed the eye. My gaze wandered troubling places when I looked back into it. Places I would not wish to look again. You know nothing about this Eye?"

Antimony had many questions for this orc woman - chiefly, just what in Azeroth had she been doing in Stormwind, much less how she'd gotten in - but she bit these back carefully. "We do not. If you are looking for troubling magic, perhaps you should start in the tunnels in this city that specialize in it."

"I know well those tunnels." The woman smiled, and pointed at Dhein. "Something I have in common with this one, who deals almost daily with the Warlocks."

"What? I do not!" Dhein huffed, looking one way and then the other, his ears swaying. "Not daily."

"Certainly not daily." Antimony pursed her lips. "Regardless, you've simply sensed wrong, and intruded rather rudely in the process."

"I can see your lies just by looking at you." The orc stepped towards Antimony suddenly, her face turning towards the woman. The green gem set in her skull-cap exuded a wisp of fog. "I can see you trudging about the Overgrowth. I can see you caring for weeds in your home. I can see you in a cell beneath Northwatch, running, stopping to help a human. I know that human priest's name. Her corpses twitches in the Stormwind's ugly chapel."

Antimony took a step back from the orc woman, eyes widening. "I've never..." She darted her gaze towards Dhein, and then back to the orc. "What we do in the privacy of our own home is no one's business but our own," she spoke firmly.

Dhein's tone turned coldly hostile. "How do you know to speak of those things?"

"I see it clearly." The orc turned on Dhein. "From here I can see you conjuring the Eye. The rune is drawn on the wall and a shelf so that it can be broken afterward. Why such care, Warlock? You do not conjure it with Fel. What are you using? Why?"

"You have no place to ask us these things," Antimony snapped, the light in her eye sockets flickering dark. She straightened her posture against the orc woman. "There is nothing we can tell you."

"Why do you keep secrets from those whose purpose you do not know?" The orc turned on Antimony.

"Likely because of the viciousness with which you ask." Dhein replied, curtly. "There is no kindness for us in Orgrimmar recently, and you did not bring any with you. Don't seek to find what you are not willing to give."

"Dark power hangs over us like a storm cloud." The orc gestured with one frustrated hand. "And you would enable it."

"There is nothing here for you to concern yourself over." Folding her arms across her chest, Antimony frowned towards the orc woman. "I suggest you leave us be."

"This is your one chance to cooperate." The orc woman stated. "If you do not, you will be arrested and questioned. Your home and everything it contains will belong to the Arm. All argument is meaningless."

"Arrested!" Antimony balked, looking affronted. "On what grounds? We have caused no one any harm. Is this more of Hellscream's cleansing?"

"All argument is meaningless." The woman repeated.

"I'm not convinced you have the kind of authority you claim to have." Dhein said, lifting his head and smirking. "A strange orc from a group we've never heard of claiming she'll have us arrested for nothing. Good bye."

Antimony lifted both brows and hummed vaguely in agreement.

The Orc woman ran a hand over her skullcap, groaning. "I can see your hands writing notes. Pages upon pages. Hours beyond hours, days and weeks and months. Too much to read with this sight of mine." She stepped back from them. "I will return."

"You will find our answer unchanged." Antimony's eyes narrowed.

"And no more peeping!" Dhein wagged a finger at the woman. Then he turned to Antimony and urged her inside.

Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 12:37 am
by Naunet
Sniffing at the orc woman one last time, Antimony spun on her heel at Dhein's urging and slipped back inside just as she'd left. Once there, she frowned across the room, fingers tapping rapidly against her arms in annoyance. "I do not like this."

Dhein closed the door behind him, locking it, and immediately checking it for holes that someone could peak through. "That did have some unsettling implications, yes."

"Unsettling. Hmph." One foot joined the tapping. "What was she doing in Stormwind in the first place? And to spy on us... how could she know even half of what she spoke of? No, I do not like this. This supposed Arm of Kalimdor..."

"This could be trouble, even if she is making up the bit about arresting us. She's still an orc in a city that orcs don't want us in." He stood with his hands on the door, and looked over his shoulder at Antimony. "Should we ask someone?"

"Perhaps... but if they are real, would that not possibly stir greater suspicion?" Antimony inclined her head, eyes towards the ceiling, lips pursed into a heavy frown. "That orc... I suppose what you saw through the eye was real, then. But no arm of Hellscream's Horde would likely speak with a draenei."

"I think that's a policy debate wholly irrelevant to our current situation." Dhein finally turned from the door to Antimony. "You aren't supposed to be in Orgrimmar, remember? And I likely won't be allowed to hold property here. But we can't just move our work."

"It's relevant in that it is possible she isn't who she says she is." Antimony turned to look towards Dhein. "... But you are right. What are we to do if she does return, but with a force of guards? That door would not hold anyone for long."

"Hm." Dhein stepped back, pulling on his beard and looking at the door as if genuinely considering how it would stand up to a force of orcs. "Might be best to just cooperate in that case."

"Cooperate. I doubt they would let this, let alone us, remain even if we do cooperate." Narrowing her eyes in frustrated thought, Antimony squeezed the thin bridge of her nose between two fingers.

"There's such a thing as cutting our losses." Dhein crossed his arms.

Antimony have turned, looking around the room, spine ramrod straight. "We could send Aztal off with our research papers. Samples. What books he can manage... Then it would be safe at the very least."

"That's a good idea. I'd have to summon him back from the Undercity."

"For now, we will need to rearrange our priorities. Do so."

"Right." Dhein looked once more at the feeble door, and then walked to the shelves of reagents. He took simple chalk, with which to draw a summoning circle.

Antimony moved to their stacks of books and papers and began gathering up their numerous reams of notes, setting them off to one side with a grim expression. "Where should we send him? Corin's Crossing? I hope that woman cannot see that as well..."

"So what if she can? Is she willing to wade through the seas of undead to reach it?" Dhein drew a symbol on one of the only open spots of floor unbroken by roots and weeds.

"I suppose." There were a great many papers, far more than Antimony recalled. She pursed her lips at them and hoped the imp could take them all. Straightening, she left those things to move to the shelves, gathering a number of glass vials in her arms. "If she does return, with guards or without, we should agree on what precisely to speak of to her."

"You mean we need to get our story straight?" Replacing the chalk, Dhein paced back to the symbol he had drawn on the ground. "If we're being spied upon, this may not be the wisest time to cast Fel machinations."

"Perhaps not, but what else are we to do? I will not risk them taking away all of our work."

"I suppose I'm just pointing it out." Dhein extended his hands over the symbol and sent a shock of Fel through the symbol. The oily energy followed the lines, and the chalk darkened.

Vials in arm, Antimony stepped to the central growth of their plant. The shadows that clung to its crevices shivered close against it, and Antimony fancied the brief, illogical notion that it was aware of the current threat. She felt the power stick to her hands as she worked to free a portion of it from the floor into which it had embedded itself. It felt almost like it was seeking refuge in her body. "The simple act of summoning Aztal is rather tame compared to what they seem to suspect. I doubt very much it will affect that woman's feelings on the matter."

Dhein swept the chalk away with his foot, the summoning cast. It was a minor spell at any rate. It would not rip Aztal to his side, simply nudge the imp to return swiftly. "So, as to our story?"

"We will not be able to hide the plant from view." Moving along one twisted vine, she carefully pulled free some of the roots around a budding blossom. "But that woman did not seem at all knowledgeable of it. Perhaps we can take advantage of such and convince her of its innocuous nature."

"If she's any kind of mage she'll be able to discern that the plant has a magical nature. And she seemed to suspect we were working dark magic in here." Dhein kicked the last of the Fel-laced dust beneath the bookshelf. "Preposterous accusation!"

"Extremely. This is a place of study, not some... hub of evil." Antimony's expression soured into one of insult as she moved to another vine and carefully collected another sample.

"And that's our story." Dhein said, pacing back. "The best lies are truths, as they say."

The glass vials clinked in Antimony's hands as she straightened. "I suppose it is the best we can do." Her gaze drifted towards the door for a moment, and then to the vials. She carried them over to the papers she'd set aside and there took up her staff to lean her weight against it.

"We've taken all necessary precautions for our research and it isn't harming anything. We even have the room magically sealed." Dhein gestured out the outskirts of the room where, supposedly, his wards were still fully effective. "That might save us from being arrested, but given the tone of the city, we may still be asked to leave."

"All the more reason for Aztal to take our... what is taking him so long? We've no idea when that woman could be back."

Dhein shrugged. "He does have to travel here from the Eastern Kingdoms. A gracious master grants at least a few minutes travel-time."

Antimony hummed impatiently at that but didn't further protest. She turned to face the room and crossed her arms. A moment later, she uncrossed them to comb worriedly through her still-damp hair. It probably looked like a rat's nest...

"Did you manage to finish your bath?" Dhein perused the books they'd brought, to choose out the most incriminating.

"Enough of it," Antimony muttered. "I'm want to dump the dirty water over her head should that orc return."

"I'm not sure that will earn us any lenience."

"No, but I can imagine it at the very least."

With a shrug, Dhein paced away from the bookshelves arms laden with books. "Imagination is a ladies right. We need to establish a priority on what to be moved first in case the woman returns before we've had a chance to move everything."

Eyes narrowing in thought, Antimony glanced over her shoulder. "Many of your books would likely do more harm than good to their assumptions regarding our actions. But I am loathe to risk losing the plant..."

"We can't move the plant. And I'm sure the odds of our maintaining it are slim if the woman is everything she claims to be. And knows everything she claims to know. Regardless of what books we have in our possession." Dhein began to order the worst of his books from worst to least worst.

"The samples first, then your books." She pursed her lips. "Our notes last. They may even prove useful in demonstrating our academic rigor were they shown."

"Demonstrating that we've been casting Fel enchantments for the purpose of scholarship? Augh." Dhein stopped what he was doing and spun on the room. "Are those weeds still harboring their curses? Just our luck if they were."

Aztal burst into the room in a puff of green and brown flame. He held ancient-looking pages in his hands, their edges curling with dark residue. As soon as he was present, he shook the pages in frustration. "What!"

"Aztal, manners!" Antimony snapped in a harried tone. She gestured towards the vials she'd collected, each containing as much whole plant material as she had been able to salvage. "We may have run into a complication. Take these to Corin's Crossing and then return immediately for more."

Aztal groaned in frustration, shaking the papers and chattering in annoyed Eredun.

"Yes, yes. That's nice, Aztal." Dhein grabbed the imp by one ear and lifted him off the ground. As the imp writhed, throwing pages everywhere, Dhein carried the imp to the vials and deposited him before them. "Expedience is prerequisite. Don't bother with organization. You'll see to that once you've moved everything."

Antimony knelt to gather up the pages Aztal had dropped. They were chill to the touch, and felt so delicate between her fingers that Antimony worried they may crumble to dust at the slightest disturbance. "These should leave with your books as well," she said to Dhein. "Aztal, what are you doing still here? Away."

Dhein gave the imp a kick before pacing to Antimony to take the pages from her. "I'm not even sure what they are. Here, let me see."

Aztal gathered as many vials as he could without dropping any, and then disappeared with a particularly rude chitter.

Antimony stood as she passed the papers to Dhein, glowing eyes glancing over them and frowning at the indiscernible text.

Looking at the pages, Dhein just shook his head. "We'll have to ask Aztal what he was doing later. For now, I'll put these aside."

"Yes, now about those enchantments..." Antimony huffed in annoyance. "What a disruption to our research... We'll need to dispel them, though. At the least, yours."

"Best case scenario, it's an experiment we can do again." Dhein gestured to the plants. "You may do the honors, however. Practitioners of Fel often lack the necessary skills to dispel their own curses."

Inclining her head, Antimony stifled the hesitation in her voice to speak, "Of course." She took up her staff again, sparing a moment to look over the knotted wood, dark fibers braided into it and sprouting tiny flowers. Her eyes settled on the obscured crystal at its terminus, and her lips pressed together in unhappy anticipation.

For more than one reason, it was best to get this done quickly. She stepped towards the outgrowth Dhein had cast his curse of tongues upon and lifted her staff slightly in front of her. Dispelling magic required little prayer but high potency of concentration of will. Her muscles tensed as she called for the Light that would charge the fleeting spell, and she nearly staggered at the unexpected intensity of the fire that touched inside her. Her eyes widened, the light in them flaring briefly, and then the empty chill rolled over the Light she had sought to summon to her, engulfing it as a fog. The spell had already formed in her mind, though, and so it continued into the focus, only born not by Light but by the thick shadow. It melted over the curse, engulfing it and then blending back into the aura of the room.

Antimony stood still for a moment - the whole thing lasted only tens of seconds - and then shook herself. "It is done. Our spy will get no evidence of Fel activities from this." She frowned then. "What of your runes?"

"Those are a bit more difficult to erase." Dhein said, looking over his tomes once more. "Even if I erased the marks, the Fel leaves permanent scars in the surface on which a spell is cast."

"And from how she spoke of it, she already knows where to look," Antimony muttered. "There is nothing for it. We will simply need to explain them as they apply to our studies."

"Which they do." Dhein turned round, looking the room over. "Though, she sounded as though she was likely to take the business with the Eye personally."

"It is through no transgression of ours that she was lurking in Stormwind at the time. And it is not as though we harmed anyone." Antimony huffed.

"Possible we saw something we shouldn't have, though?"

"We hardly saw anything but those shadows you spoke of, and... that human thief." Antimony's lips twitched downward. "If reassurance of that sort is what that spy is looking for, I am certain we can offer it."

Dhein lifted an eyebrow. "Have you ever known an orc to be satisfied with reassurance?"

Antimony threw up one hand. "If you have an effective way of deflecting that woman, then by all means please, share it with me."

"None that are morally acceptable." The Sin'Dorei shrugged.

"Do not tempt me," Antimony muttered, but shook her head. "... I suppose we must simply... see what the future holds for that particular detail."

"Such passivity has never served the Sin'Dorei well."

"There is no denying that we sent an Eye out. We can, however, question her perceptions of it. What else is there for us to do, Dhein?"

The man shook his head and shrugged. "I'm simply trying to leave myself open to out-of-the-box thinking. Some clever use of spell that we can use, or a mundane ruse."

"I refuse to become a criminal while attempting to avoid arrest." Antimony shook her head, but then paused. "Though... I suppose we could simply tell her we saw nothing. That we simply thought the spell had failed."

"Do you think we can pull something like that over on an orc who somehow know we were held captive in Northwatch?"

"Surely she can't know every detail."

Dhein straightened an eyebrow. "If it's what you want to try, then I'll-"

He was interrupted by a violent puff of green flame, Aztal appearing empty-handed to gather more vials.

Watching the imp and ignoring his chattering, Dhein continued. "Then I'll go along with it. Things can't get much worse for being caught lying, I suppose."

"Ah, Aztal, manage a few of those books if you can," Antimony called out to the imp, brow furrowing. "Here, you can use my bag..." Stepping forward, she swept up the leather satchel she used for just about everything, checked its contents, and then to Dhein, "Which ones should we be rid of first?"

"The topmost books. I've put the most terrible among them at the top." He picked up a few of the books and dumped them in Antimony's satchel.

Aztal grumped in alternating language, tossed vials in, and grabbed at the bag.

"Aztal, be careful with those! Making haste does not allow for damage to our possessions," Antimony warned, but she didn't try and slow the imp further, letting him take the bag from her. She straightened and set her hands upon her hips. "... I do not like this waiting game," she muttered.

The imp vanished with the bag.

"That's why they say things like that. So that we feel the pressure of waiting." Dhein, in contrast to Antimony, appeared annoyingly relaxed. "But more waiting means more items moved."

Humming lowly to herself, Antimony turned one way and then the other, before finally stilling and folding her arms across her chest. Her brow pulled down into a worried frown.

Dhein paced to the perimeter of the room, pulling on its beard. "I have to wonder at the method of spying. The wards I placed should have prevented most magical seeing."

"There were no wards in the Barrens," Antimony muttered. "But then... how would she have known to look there in the first place."

"Scrying must be precise." Dhein walked the length of the room multiple times. "One can scry a person, a place, an object. A name in the vaguest of spells. But one cannot search blindly. Except with an Eye, and that's nothing but vision."

Antimony frowned. "Do you think she knew of us - our names - since... over a year ago? That seems rather unlikely..."

"I doubt it." Dhein looked towards Antimony. "As long as we're concealing our research and planning our lies, are we sure we don't know anyone we can ask consul about this? We've been isolated for a long time. That may not be wise of us."

Antimony was quiet for a moment, empty eye sockets flickering with thought. "I cannot think of... perhaps one of the Outriders? They treated us well in the past, despite our only tangential connection. But... ah, they are quite far from here, and I'm not sure what help they could lend."

"They could tell us if this 'Arm of Kalimdor' -- silly, vague name -- is an actual entity. If they know. Perhaps they could do more!" Dhein tugged on his beard. "Perhaps my daughter, upon hearing that I am threatened, will have a rush of familial inspiration and come to our aide."

"I am not sure how likely the latter is," Antimony muttered, but then louder, "How would we reach them? A letter would take time we likely do not have, even if we could manage to get it out safely."

"We could divert Aztal?"

"It's important that we get more of these books to safety, though..." Antimony's mouth twisted. "I suppose we could send them along with him."

Dhein shrugged calmly, but continued his frustrated pacing. "Are they still based in Thunder Bluff?"

"As... far as I know. I suppose we haven't put as much effort as we could have in keeping up with acquaintances..."

Exhaling a sigh, Dhein circled back. "Professional and personal connections are a resource that must be cultivated. Without such, we have little sway in events such as this."

"It's useless to dwell on should haves," Antimony huffed and tapped her fingers against her staff. Then she was hastening to the table to take up parchment and pen. "We'll send Aztal along with a note as soon as he returns. And fill the bag, for efficiency's sake."

Dhein turned to face the room. "I wonder if we can hide things behind the shelves. That would probably be too obvious."

"And with that woman's magic senses? Even moreso." Bending over the table, Antimony began to pen a very brief and direct note to whichever Outrider received it first.

"What an annoyance." Dhein groaned at the roof. "There must be some way to evade this woman's baseless aggression."

"Evade, perhaps not. Defuse? We shall see." Signing the note, Antimony took a moment to fold it into a precise square.

Aztal burst back into the room far from empty handed. He carried three satchels now, all empty. How the imp intended to carry three full satchels, Dhein could not imagine. That would be several times the imp's weight.

"Ah, Aztal, how enterprising of you." Antimony's mouth quirked, appreciative where Dhein was dubious. "We've another errand for you to perform before you deliver the next batch. It's very urgent that," she held the folded parchment towards the imp, "this make it to the hands and eyes of an Outrider. Perhaps Miss, ah... Kiraleen? Or any of the others, really. Someone should be in Thunder Bluff. And please, wait for their reply and bring it to us."

Aztal threw the bags down in disgust. "Never good enough!" Then he snatched the letter and vanished.

Dhein chuckled at that.

"Ah Aztal, wait! You were to take--" Antimony lifted one hand, but the imp was already gone. "... oh bother. Well, I hope he is quick."

Smirking despite the situation, Dhein offered, "He was quick leaving here. Perhaps he'll be quick leaving there as well."

"Perhaps.... Ah, I can hardly stand this waiting!" Antimony paced away from the table to stand in the middle of the room. One foot tapped.

"Should we do something to pass the time?" Dhein paced a circle around the plant at the center of the room.

"If we don't, I may go mad," Antimony muttered, tapping her fingers against her staff in a precise rhythm, counting the beats between them.

The man pondered. "My thoughts are disorganized. Do we have measurements that we should be taking?"

"There remains the enchantment I put upon our test subject," Antimony mused.

"It would be a shame if we missed important data because of this distraction." Dhein paced to the table where the papers and books had been stacked. "Did we send those notes with Aztal yet?"

Antimony's lips pursed. "No. He must return first."

Dhein sought it among the papers Antmony had stacked. "We might as well fill out as completely as possible."

Glancing over her shoulder towards Dhein, Antimony watched him in terse silence for a few seconds before nodding to herself. Wrapped feet shuffled quietly across the floor to where she had placed the enchantment upon an outgrowth of plant matter. A small flower had blossomed there and had begun to spread its own viney tendrils outward. "The more data we collect now, the easier it will be to rebuild, should we need to," Antimony agreed.

Taking out what looked like the appropriate notes, Dhein then sought a writing instrument. "I think we're starting to sound kind of pessimistic. We should try to sound cheerful and nothing-to-hide when the woman returns."

"Somehow I do not think that will sway her," Antimony replied mildly, and then shook her head. "Alright, alright. Bright and sunny. Hm." Not checking to see if Dhein was ready, she lifted her staff in front of her and extended her will out over the enchantment, feeling out its status carefully.

Dhein placed the notes on the table in front of him, taking up a pen in his hand and glancing over at Antimony. "I'm ready. I will try to imitate your note-taking form as closely as I can. Assuming you can... communicate your findings verbally?" He returned his gaze to the page, suddenly unsure what was even being measured and how.

"Initial observations first. The enchantment is still present, but I detect very little of the original magic in place. The ratio could be calculated if..." She trailed off and pursed her lips in thought. "... 30:70, original to... I suppose this is the plant's magic."

"Alright." Dhein wrote that down where he thought most appropriate.

Nodding to herself, Antimony maintained her focus on the enchantment and the part of the plant it lay over. Very carefully she sought to tease out where it began and the ambient energies of the plant ended. This required a lengthy period of silent concentration.

Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 12:49 am
by Naunet
Interrupting Antimony's concentration, Aztal burst in with a sudden pop of Fel energy, and immediately began chittering in annoyance. His face was shaped differently, broken it seemed, and one of his eyes was swollen shut. He ran in small circles, flailing his limbs, and lamenting something or other.

Dhein responded without pity. "Well you shouldn't surprise people if you don't want to get hit."

Lifting her head sharply, Antimony frowned in Aztal's direction. She watched the imp flail for a moment before snapping, "Calm yourself! What response do you have for us?"

The imp pointed at his face. "This!"

Dhein straightened an eyebrow.

Antimony turned from the plant, concentration well and truly shattered. "What? That's not a response, Aztal. This is no time for jokes."

Aztal didn't seem to joking. At the rate he was running around the room screeching in the most vile of Eredun dialects, the imp was simply irate.

It was at this moment that a fresh knock came upon the door.

Antimony had begun to chastise the imp yet again, but the knock interrupted her. She spun on the door, empty eyes widening. "Oh dear. Already?" Her hands twisted anxiously around her staff. "Aztal, pull yourself together and take what Dhein gives you away from here."

Catching on quickly, Dhein filled the three bags with what was first on their priority system. Then he wrangled the imp, tangled the satchels about his thin neck, and gave him a kick. "Go."

The imp spat something vulgar in Eredun and vanished.

Antimony, meanwhile, approached the door with all the caution one gave to an aggressive beast, gripping her focus in both hands. She waited for Aztal to be gone, but only just, thinking it might do them more good to seem cooperative than not. As she opened the door, she did her best to pull herself together, righting her posture, schooling her features, though her eyes remained a bit too wide.

As the door opened, a short, thin figure in a bladed armor leaned forward and glowered suspiciously at Antimony. Her yellow eyes flickered. "When did you get an imp, you?"

Antimony stumbled backwards in surprise, nearly losing her grip on her staff. She blinked dumbly at Twinflame for several seconds. "I... we..." She shook herself and then frowned. "Was that your work on Aztal?"

"He was rude. Rudeness gets kicked in the eyes socket." Twinflame stepped into the building as soon as Antimony backed away. She then noticed Dhein, who was cowering off to one side albeit with a hopeful expression. Twinflame quashed that hop by point at him. "So does he."

Straightening, Antimony made to put herself between Twinflame and Dhein. "I will not stand for such violence in my home." She paused and then, "You read our message, then?"

"What?" Twinflame straightened in mirror of Antimony's straightening. her tone remained hostile. "I punched an imp and saw a name."

"You... of course. Alright." Pinching the bridge of her nose, Antimony gave herself a moment to gather her thoughts. "We sent him with a message. A question. I suppose it can't hurt to ask you in person now. Do you know of an... Arm of Kalimdor?"

"There are lots of arms in Kalimdor," Twinflame muttered, boredly.

This exchange had begun to feel oddly familiar. Antimony's shoulders slumped. "No. An... organization. A group of people. Called the Arm of Kalimdor."

"Sounds like someone the Captain would punch!" Twinflame said happily, pumping an arm. Then she pondered. "Why do I...? Oh, maybe she did. A good punch to the face. And then more."

Yellow eyes flickered with a blink. Antimony tilted her head. "You mean Miss Naunet? She may know of this group?"

"I think she punched them once."

"Him?" Twisting her neck, Antimony looked over her shoulder towards Dhein with a worried expression. "So they do exist?"

Dhein met Antimony's gaze, but he couldn't even remember what he was talking about. His own daughter, threatening and then ignoring him, even after all this time! He would lament allowed were he not afraid she would revel in the torment. The man's gaze dropped sadly, and he turned to lean on the table.

Twinflame, meanwhile, paced closer to Antimony, looking around at the room with a confused expression. "Can't punch something that doesn't exist or doesn't be known about."

Antimony swiveled her head back around to face Twinflame, pursing her lips. "Yes, that is correct. Hm." She knit her brow at the young girl (woman?) and shifted her grip on her staff. "That is not precisely good news. I don't suppose you could ask Naunet to... get rid of them again?"

"The Captain? Sure, she likes punching th-" Twinflame interrupted herself with a gasp, spinning in place and putting her hands to her face. One foot swung out and incidentally kicked an offshoot of the integral plant. "Oh, no! The Captain shipped out! Without me. I'm unsupervised. I'm not supposed to be unsupervised!"

"Twinflame, be careful!" Antimony lifted one hand in a vague cautioning gesture towards the plant Twinflame had kicked. "Please, it's best if you step back. This is all very delicate work." She paused and then frowned. "Shipped out?"

"To the new continent." Twinflame spun back toward Antimony. "Hellscream wants it."

Antimony wrinkled her nose at that. "I see." Her shoulders dropped with an empty sigh. "I don't suppose you could... turn away this Arm of Kalimdor for us, instead?"

The child-like undead woman blinked her eyes, tilting her head sideways. "Hm?"

"The, ah, the people Naunet... punched!" Antimony gestured widely with one arm. "One of them may be here at any moment."

In perhaps the most childish tone Twinflame had ever uttered, she crossed her arms and leaned towards Antimony. "Yeah but why?"

Leaning back slightly from Twinflame, Antimony glanced to one side and returned both hands to her staff, wringing her fingers about the wood. "Had you read my note, dear... Ah, they are simply confused about certain... things, and Dhein and I are worried for our safety, and that of our work. Given the current... Well, they do not like us very much."

"And you think I can convince them to like you more?" Twinflame sounded confused by the prospect.

"What? Oh, Light no." Antimony shook her head, lips pursing further. "No, that would be rather impossible, I'm afraid. Dear, we're just at a loss as to what else... but I suppose violence would only make things worse."

"Well if I can't talk to them and I can't hurt them I don't know what you want from me?" Twinflame's claws clicked at her sides.

Venturing with a quiet, terrified breath, Dhein said. "Well, you're Horde military, so..."

"Mumbling!" Twinflame pointed.

The Warlock paled, but forced himself to look at his undead daughter and speak so he could be heard. "Perhaps just tell them that our project is known and endorsed by... whomever?"

Antimony took up Dhein tentative banner, nodding firmly. "Very good, yes. Perhaps even your very own organization? The Outriders are supported by and a part of the Horde, after all."

"Uhm." Twinflame's glass eyes rolled curiously in her head. "Right, yes. Right. I guess. But, but, wait." She shrugged. "I don't know your project."

"Oh, that is no matter." Antimony smiled at the girl. "Research, simply. We've been studying this plant. And taking every precaution, necessary and unnecessary! You should be sure to mention such."

"Well that sounds boring." Twinflame bemoaned.

Antimony huffed. "Intellectual activities are important, Twinflame. They keep your mind active and healthy."

"Are you saying my mind isn't healthy?" Twinflame glowered at Antimony.

"I am saying..." Antimony's cheek twitched. "I am simply reminding you of the importance of exercising your mind, as well as your body. It is good for you."

"Exercising my body doesn't do any good. It's not like I can get fat or gain muscle."

Dhein spoke with controlled frustration. "Can you just speak on our behalf, even if you have to make it up?"

Antimony lifted one hand in a shushing gesture towards Dhein, but spoke to Twinflame, "Certainly not, but you still would want to train, yes? So you don't forget how to fight. I believe the phrase is... 'get rusty', hm? Regardless, do you think you can manage this for us?"

"I don't know. I'm not supposed to be in... Orgrimmar." Twinflame poked at her face. "I don't think I'm allowed here."

"What?" Antimony blinked before recalling the very same position she herself was in. "... Ah. Well... yes, that. Don't worry overmuch about it. As long as you leave promptly - perhaps remind them that you only came here to deal with this matter? - it should not be an issue."

"Okay, okay. I'll talk. Where are they?" Twinflame turned to face the door, as though expecting them immediately.

Antimony shifted her weight to lean slightly against her focus. "Ah, that... is one detail we do not have. I am unsure when they will return."

"You expect me to wait?" Twinflame spun, eyes glowing brightly. "Here? In the weird plant room? With him?" She pointed at Dhein.

The indicated elf shrank in sadness.

"I am certain you have enough self-control to endure it for the sure to be short time until they return to us."

The woman-child twisted her features. "Like I wasn't doing anything back in Thunder Bluff."

"Were you?" Antimony tilted her head.

"Of course I was. Were you? Does anyone ever not?"

"This is very important, Twinflame!" Antimony huffed, the light in her empty eyesockets flickering, but quickly forced herself to calm. "But I did not command it from you - I asked, and you came here. So please, help us?"

"Maybe." Twinflame spun back towards the door and walked toward it. "I don't know."

"You don't know." Antimony resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose in frustration. "Why do you not know?"

"Because I haven't decided yet." She did, however, open the door and exit the room.

Antimony's mouth dropped open, and she stood in silence for a second before quickly stepping after the undead girl. "Come now, Twinflame," she called after. "Do not be so unreasonable."

"Maybe you should give her a moment," Dhein started, his voice somber. "Let her get some distance from me and perhaps she'll remember that she doesn't dislike you as much."

Antimony hesitated at the door now shut in front of her. Her mouth twisted unhappily, but she turned back around to Dhein. "I do wish there was some way to change her feelings about... you."

The Sin'Dorei gave Antimony the saddest smirk that had ever been given. "I believe at this point that may be impossible."

"Come now..." Reluctantly, Antimony crossed back into the room, until she stood in front of Dhein. She set a hand on his arm. "Perhaps she just needs more time without pressure."

"It has been..." Dhein looked toward the ceiling, counting. "More than five years?"

She pet his arm absently. "Deep wounds take a long while to heal." Yellow-glowing eyes lifted to glance towards the door. "Still, if she decides to help us, perhaps it will be a step, hm? I certainly don't relish the thought of having to deal with this Arm of Kalimdor on our own..."

"If she doesn't help us, then all she did was confirm that the Arm is something that does in fact have authority. At least, some kind, somewhere." Dhein sounded like all the hope he'd been espousing moments before had been stripped from him.

"Dhein." Antimony spoke his name in a chiding, though soft, tone. "Moping like that does neither of us any good." Her expression, however, remained vaguely worried, anxiously pointed towards the door. "Either she will help us, or she will not. We've prepared as best we can for either event."

"I can't prepare for such fears." Dhein lifted his half-lidded gaze to Antimony. "Imagine us seperated and placed in cells like livestock. Me rotting alone, separated from my love and all because my own daughter hated me too much to help. I'd age as quick as a Troll!"

Antimony dropped carefully to a knee, one hand on her staff while the other rested on Dhein's shoulder. "Stop that. I will not tolerate such things." She didn't voice that she had no solution, should such occur, though.

"Fate does not ask to be tolerated." The elf lamented, holding his hands palm-up and gazing on the ceiling. "It simply drops about your neck like a noose of rusted wire."

"Quiet." Antimony frowned heavily, fingers tense against Dhein's shoulder. "Neither will I tolerate your premature surrender."

The man dropped his hands and pouted at Antimony. "I feel completely without influence in the situation."

"We've done everything in our power." She let her hand move over his back. "Acting like a helpless child will not better our situation, though."

Dhein gave Antimony a hurt look. "That is unkind."

Antimony looked down at him, pursed her lips at his expression, and slumped her shoulders. "Stop that, now. You know what I mean." Shifting so that she could move her arm around him, Antimony leaned against the elf. "I will find us a way out of this, though it would be easier if you cooperated as well."

"I'm perfectly willing to cooperate." Dhein took on a reluctantly argumentative tone. "I've been cooperating excellently."

"Yes, you have," Antimony assured. "Only, your resignation is rather dragging. Were you not only minutes before espousing the benefits of thinking positively?"

"It's difficult to think positively when one is the victim of paternal loathing."

"I will not lie to you and say Twinflame has no reason to feel the way she does," Antimony spoke as kindly as she could manage, which was actually very kind.

"Well of course she does. But as her father -- and I still assert my right to call myself so -- I would hope she would be big enough to overlook those reasons and find it in her heart to forgive a poor, suffering penitent."

"They are very good reasons." Antimony pursed her lips. "And she is still a child in many ways."

Crossing his arms and looking increasingly sour, Dhein huffed. "If they're such good reasons then why don't you hate me, too?"

Antimony's features tensed briefly. She wanted to say that now wasn't exactly the time to have this conversation, but then, what else was there for them to do while they waited? She set her staff down on the floor at her side and uncertainly set her other hand on Dhein's knee. "I suppose I have seen more of the good side of you than she has."

Dhein leaned his head against Antimony and muttered sadly. "I think I'm mostly good sides. Just, all good sides and a couple accidental smudges that I'm cleaning up."

"You are doing quite well compared to... some time ago, yes," Antimony reassured. Her dead fingers brushed through Dhein's hair. "She has not had much of an opportunity to see that, though. Be patient with her."

"How's she supposed to see it if she hits me every time she sees me?"

Antimony coughed at that, her tattered diaphragm rustling in her chest uselessly. "Ah, well. That is where the patience comes in, I believe. She is stubborn." Pausing, Antimony looked briefly back towards the door before returning her gaze to Dhein. "I could do what I can do speak with her about it, after all of this, perhaps."

Glistening anime eyes turned up to gaze on Antimony's luminescent features, as pink light and sparkles shone about her head. Dhein ventured, "You would do that for me?"

Antimony was briefly taken aback by Dhein's googly eyes. But she also kind of melted for them. Just a little. "Of course I would."

The Elf cuddled Antimony. "That is a gesture I could never have asked for."

Antimony blinked, one corner of her mouth twitching. "You do not have to." She paused and then ventured, "Do you feel better now?"

"I still feel tormented," Dhein replied. "However, I feel better for your support than any torment can dissuade."

"Good." Antimony kept petting his hair. She leaned herself a bit more against his arm but turned her face to look towards the door and fell into a waiting silence.

Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 1:03 am
by Naunet
Time passed. More than Dhein was comfortable with, as he expected the return of either Qadr or Twinflame in the nearest future, and feared both. Instead, Aztal returned with satchels empty, his face still smashed in, and immediately began searching for more things to take. The imp muttered the most horrid blasphemies in Eredun, but Dhein did not hold it against the imp at the moment.

Antimony watched Aztal with a frown. She wasn't exactly pleased with the length of time they'd been waiting either. "That woman's mind games are getting rather excessive," she muttered, and then louder, "Aztal, remove some of Dhein's reagents as well, please."

Already harboring full satchels, Aztal complained and laboriously dragged them over to the shelf where Dhein's reagents rested. Her then filled his small arms with an assortment of Fel ingredients and vanished into green fire.

Dhein ventured, "Maybe she was just annoyed that we didn't agree to her demands, and she does not actually have grounds to return."

"Perhaps..." Antimony's lips pursed. It didn't seem likely. "But if the Arm of Kalimdor is an official branch of Hellscream's Horde..." She shook her head. "We cannot sit here waiting forever, though."

Lengthy eyebrows drawing inward, Dhein muttered, "Now I worry if we're simply losing time and enduring humiliation based on nothing."

"Perhaps it would be worthwhile considering establishing a second, ah, research center regardless," Antimony mused.

"Won't be much of a research center without a plant to research."

"We could transplant some of it, just as we did with this one," Antimony offered.

"And then wait another year or more for it to be at this point again, but in a completely different environment."

"Would that not be fascinating? We know more about it now. We could conduct different experiments as it grows."

"As long as it does not come with the condition of losing this plant, I would support it."

"No, of course not." Antimony smiled slightly. "The only question would be how to move between the two... though we could charge Aztal with long-term monitoring of one, I suppose."

"Yes. Aztal. He could be trust to do that." Dhein looked up and spent some time considering the prospect sincerely. "It would make much more sense to have this place be the secondary location. We could board it up and conceal it and have Aztal monitor it. Then we could establish a second location at a place we can move more freely."

Antimony's features brightened. "Ah, excellent thought. That would be much more manageable. Though... there is the question of how we would get out of Orgrimmar."

Dhein shrugged. "Pay off another Tauren? Or let ourselves be expelled. Maybe the system works."

"So long as we are expelled and not..." Antimony made a face.

"I'm sure they don't mistreat people as a matter of course." Then his expression twisted, and he pondered. "Although. Perhaps we should find a more subtle means of escape."

"I'm not certain we have the funds to bribe our way out again, though it is perhaps worth an investigation." Antimony shifted her weight idly against him. "Hm, when Aztal returns, we should send him off with a more substantial cutting from the plant."

"What if the orc returns before he does? Could he start an offshoot from what he's already taken?"

Antimony thought a moment, furrowing her brow. "... I am not an herbalist, but given its past proclivities, I would imagine so."

"Then I'm going to do the best I can to stop worrying."

"Good. Worry does not suit you."

* * *

Aztal made three more trips that hour, with Dhein piling him high with books and stocking hsi scrawny limbs with whatever Antimony gave him to do so with. The imp's mutterings revealed that Aztal had no idea why he was being asked to do this, and in fact had decided it was a form of punishment. Dhein did not correct this misconception. It was, in fact, very similar to punishments Dhein had given out in the past.

Shortly after Aztal disappeared the third time, the door to the small room opened, swinging inward and slamming against the wall. Dhein flinched at the sudden sound, spinning to find himself standing very close to Twinflame, which caused him to flinch again.

Twinflame, however, ignored him and looked instead at Antimony. "Someone from the Arm is coming behind me."

Antimony straightened from where she'd been organizing their remaining stock of books, the light in her empty eye sockets flaring with surprise. She spent several seconds staring at Twinflame in shock, processing the girl's arrival, and then her words. Then she shook herself visibly. "Ah, Twinflame! You... you will speak to them?" She managed to keep her voice mostly steady, if urgent.

The undead girl gave Antimony a confused look. "I will? Did I have something to... Oh!" Twinflame slammed one fist into her open palm. "The tent is low on firewood and I can't burn the stakes because if I knock the tent down again someone is going to kill me. That's what they said."

"I... what?" Antimony blinked, leaning slightly on her staff in confusion.

"No, Twinflame." Dhein approached, emboldened by Antimony's support. "You were going to talk to the orc from the Arm on our behalf. We're counting on-"

"Pest." Twinflame flicked something at Dhein.

A small dark speck landed on Dhein's chest. He looked down at it in confusion. Then the speck began to crawl very quickly towards his face, and the elf commenced pounding on his chest and backpedaling nonsensically. "She threw a bug at me! She threw a bug at me!"

"Twinflame!" Antimony scolded sharply and gestured with her staff in frustration. "Behave yourself around him. I will not tolerate mistreatment. Now--" Her gaze darted past the undead girl briefly and then continued from where Dhein had left off, "We are counting on you to deflect this Arm of Kalimdor away from us. Remember - you are to tell them the Outriders know of our work and have endorsed its safety for the Horde."

Dhein pulled at the folds of his robes frantically. "I lost it. It got in my clothes. What was it? Was it poisonous? All is for naught if I die to some apothecary's bug stowed away in her armor!"

Pointedly ignoring Antimony's protests, Twinflame flicked another bug at the man, and then began speaking quickly before she could be scolded. "The Outriders know of our work and have endorsed its safety for the Horde. So safe I would gird an infant in its hide."

"Ah... our, not... well. Alright. Yes, that should--Thank you." Antimony grimaced and then moved to Dhein's side, pushing lightly at his arms as she muttered, "Calm down. It is only a bug."

Twinflame spun and closed the door. "The person is upon us."

Dhein had all but disrobed, but he forced himself to resume a semblance of control. He righted his robes, even if he could feel the pinpricks of an insect's fangs piercing into his very innards. This was no time to let Antimony down.

Almost in the same moment that Twinflame shut the door, a knock struck it. And in that same moment, Twinflame opened the door. "It's only a bug. Wait. I forgot what I was saying."

Even through her skullcap, the wrinkling of Qadr's brow was apparent.

Antimony cast a pleading and perhaps long-suffering look towards the ceiling before hastily straightening Dhein's robes in ways she'd apparently decided he'd not done well enough in. Or she was just nervous. She straightened her own dress when she was done before she could bring herself to turn towards the door. Then she realized she was mostly out of line of sight and spent a few seconds wondering if that was best.

She chose to try and let Twinflame handle things for now.

"Can I try again?" Twinflame requested.

Qadr ground her jaw. "Please."

"We are the Outriders and our work is known. We are endorsed by the infant saftey gird...le. Girdle. For the Horde!"

"Enlightening."

"No. Let's try." Twinflame pointed behind her. "The Outriders are a military group assembled during the reign of Warchief Thrall. These two are a friend of our Field Marshall, Captain, and myself. And we know and support what they're doing." She bounced and spun to Antimony. "Hah! All the words!"

Antimony tried to resist the urge to just hide. This was awful. They were all going to be arrested and thrown out or wor--wait. "...That..." was actually alright?

Straightening her posture and setting her jaw, Antimony stepped into line of sight of the doorway, looking past Twinflame to the orc beyond. "You see now that your insinuations are folly?"

The orc did not make any gesture to acknowledge Antimony. With her gaze directed at no one in particular, Qadr extended a folder peice of paper towards Twinflame. "Hellscream's Horde has need of you. Please report to the recorded location."

"Okay!" Twinflame took the envelope and walked out, trotting happily along.

Then Qadr's tone shifted. "Yes, Antimony, I do see."

"Twinflame, what--!" Antimony started forward but brought herself to an abrupt halt a step or two from the door to blink at the orc woman. "You know my name?" Her lips twitched on an anxious thought. "Ah--ah, of course. You see. Now then, I suppose you will be off to deal with true threats to Hellscream's Horde, yes?"

"The fact that you think so badly of my purpose does not bode well for our relationship." Qadr's lips twisted in displeasure. "I see you planning the words you will say to me and sending the bulk of your research away with an imp. I'm not fond of games or deception."

"What?" Antimony put on her best affronted look. "Do not speak of games when you leave us waiting on pins and needles with such an ominous yet vague promise of 'I will return'. I am not unfamiliar with how this city now treats our people."

"There is no less vague promise among orcs than 'I will return', Antimony. If you spent that time letting your guts be eaten away by cowardice, do not look for pity."

"That's no good." Another voice spoke from outside, somewhere near Qadr but a few paces removed. The voice was smaller, sweeter, and casual. "That tone is precisely why Oknar told you to bring me. You're just going to get in a fight."

Qadr's far-from-endless patience eroded visibly. "I am neither interested in nor afraid of verbal confrontations with a Forsaken that has no power over me or herself."

Antimony spared a glance towards Dhein before fixing her gaze forward again. She leaned forward slightly to try and see the owner of the new voice. "I would rather prefer to not get in any such fight," she agreed.

The orc's frown deepened. "If you do not wish to fight then do not hiss. Like a frightened cat trying to make itself look bigger."

"Take a break." The voice from before came this time with movement, a very thin woman managing - by virtue of her thinness -- to slip between Qadr and the doorframe and insert herself in front of Antimony. The elf's eyes glowed green with Fel, and her bright red hair was cut round about her chin. "Good afternoon."

Antimony shifted her weight, expression slacking for half a moment in surprise before she regained her demeanor. "And who are you?"

The woman crossed her arms over her chest and leaned backwards against Qadr. The orc stepped back, and the elf filled that space so that she was standing in a less intrusive place in front of the door. "A representative of the Arm of Kalimdor and a Lady of one of the Noble Houses of Silvermoon, though those words don't hold quite the same music on this side of the world. I'm also a friend of Kiraleen Starvale's."

Antimony leaned against her staff in relief. "Ah, Miss Kiraleen... thank the Light, there will perhaps be some reason in this unexpected madness."

"Yes. Kiraleen is reasonable." The elf said this in a dry tone of recitation, as though she may not actually believe it. "At any rate, I have you at a disadvantage which must be rectified. I am-"

"Noonsong." Dhein approached behind Antimony, looking over the Forsaken woman's shoulder without any particular friendliness in his Fel eyes. "It is rectified."

The elf woman's lips turned up in a smile that did not reach her eyes. "Ah. Til'za. You are bold enough to approach me. With some effort I might think of that as refreshing."

Both of Antimony's brows lifted, and the turned just enough to glance at Dhein over her shoulder. "You know this woman." Her lips pursed in thought at the elf woman's words as she turned her gaze forward again.

With a sigh, Dhein gestured to the elf. "This woman was an acquaintance of the part-owner of my bar in Silvermoon."

The elven woman nodded. "Yes, and before that, for the sake of full disclosure, I frequently slept with your wife."

Dhein glowered. "Show some respect."

"It's very respectful. You wife is the only brunette I've ever had sex with, and she is delicious." The elf looked over her shoulder toward Qadr. "I'm telling the truth, right? You would know."

Qadr replied with a snap. "This man's wife is dead."

The elven woman opened her mouth to speak further, and then didn't say anything. Her lips hung open for a few second, and then they closed and she looked at her hands.

Antimony's expression shifted to one of mortification, both hands wringing about her staff. "This... is certainly not a respectable conversation to be having, much less--ah, much less one that is relevant."

"I would not have mentioned it had I known where it would lead." The elven woman lifted her gaze, glancing at Dhein, and then back to Antimony. "I am the Lady Llyric of House Noonsong, and I wished to negotiate your cooperation."

"Such an incredible entrance." Dhein mock-clapped. "You've just inspired us all, Lady Noonsong."

"Dhein, of all times, let us make an effort to not stir trouble." Drawing her elbows close to her and pursing her lips, Antimony frowned in perturbation at Dhein's reaction to the woman (though if the history was as sordid as was suggested, she could certainly understand... still, not at all what she would have liked to hear of!). To Llyric Noonsong she spoke carefully, "What is it you offer in these negotiations?"

Antimony leaned her head back, the light in her empty eye sockets dimming. "I feel rather intruded upon. Do you have no sense of privacy?"

Dhein tightened the robes across his chest as a symbol of defiance. A bug sprang from the folds and lit upon his hand. It took all of his control not to panic, and instead he froze in silence, staring at it. The bug stared back. A wordless exchange took place. 'You are nothing but my food', the bug seemed to say. 'Your ever-renewing meat could feed me for a thousand years if not for the poison that kills you even now. It is of no consequence. Even you are of no worth to me'.

Even then, Dhein did not move.

Qadr turned her body toward Antimony, even though her face was directed at the ground some meters to Antimony's side. "Let me make this clear to you. A curse of untold darkness has claimed the life of a priest in Stormwind. When I look into that priest's past, I see you, in the Barrens. I see corruption and darkness. And in your past I see you plucking the root of madness from the wilds, and it sits before me healthy and growing. You will never convince me that it is coincidental or innocuous."

"We had nothing to do with that woman's death!" Antimony huffed and tightened her grip on her staff. Throwing caution at least half to the wind, she continued, "Dhein and I ran into her briefly in the Barrens, yes, but she was not there on any mission related to ours. And she stole some of my data!"

Llyric brushed dust from beneath her fingernails, gazing sideways from the doorway with a poorly concealed smirk.

"Regardless." Qadr pointed at the plant. "If this bush had nothing to do with the corruption you witnessed, then explain that corruption to me."

"Corruption?" Thin lids sunk briefly over her eye sockets in a slow blink. A frown creased her brow. "Dhein and I have been working for a year now to determine the magic's precise nature. We have not yet arrived at a full conclusion, and this delay certainly has not helped."

"This delay is called oversight, which you will be under from now on."

"Excuse me?" Pursing her lips in disapproval, Antimony looked between Qadr and Llyric. "We are part of no military or government body."

"You are members of the Horde. Woman, Forsaken, civilian, it does not matter." Qadr spoke with a growl. "You will do as your warchief commands."

"Tone." Llyric spoke from the doorway without looking up. "You're just going to get into a fight."

"It is Hellscream who commands this?" Antimony's tone was dubious. "What do you mean, then, by oversight?"

"I mean," Qadr straightened, not looking down on Antimony but knowing that her size had power. "That I am going to be watching you. Actively. And if I decide this power that you're meddling with is what I fear it is, I'll destroy it."

"Qadr." Llyirc put her hands on her sides and frowned. "What did I tell you about aggressive sentence structure and violent verbs?"

Antimony's eyes narrowed. "I suppose we have no choice in this matter."

In a gesture of incredible bravery, Dhein flicked his hand away from him, sending the bug flying off into the room. He then withdrew his hand and cradled it as though it were injured.

"You've already agreed." Llyric responded before Qadr could. "However Qadr wants to put it, the fact is that the people in charge are taking her testimony very seriously and not yours. Qadr does not need to be as patient as she's being, even if she doesn't sound like she's being patient."

Jaw tightening, Antimony pursed her lips in silence for a long moment, staring towards the two with extreme disapproval. "Very well," she clipped out. "You have our cooperation. Now leave us."

"No." Qadr spat, chuckling. "We aren't done. I asked if you had an explanation. You did not answer."

"It's not our job to explain unrelated phenomenon." Dhein said, catching up to the conversation around him. "We're studying the energy given off by a plant recovered from the Overgrowth. That's all."

"Precisely," Antimony agreed in a stiff tone. "And that research is entirely a work-in-progress."

"I do not trust such an assertion." Qadr pointed at the stacks of tomes on the table. "Recover your research and the Warlock's damning books. Do not attempt to conceal things from me again."

Antimony's fingers twitched around her staff, feeling a cold void stir there. Her only retort was an icy stare.

Dhein couldn't help but correct. "I am not a warlock."

Qadr sneered at him as she turned away, walking back toward the door. "Then cease frequenting places that Warlocks gather. The Cleft of Shadows will not remain safe for those who stink of Fel."

Llyric snapped at the woman. "That's enough of that, Qadr."

"Indeed, that is enough." Antimony knocked the bottom of her staff against the floor. "We have nothing else to tell you now. Leave us be."

Llyric leaned back to look around Qadr. "If you keep saying that set of words she's never going to leave."

The orc paused, turning, "I could demand a representative set of your findings to study."

"I don't understand." Llyric gazed at the top of the doorframe. "Why amI the only person in the city who knows how to say what needs to be said to get what she wants? Is it really that hard?"

Antimony pressed her lips together and went coldly silent.

"You want to leave." Llyric said to the orc woman. "So leave."

Qadr pushed Llyric aside, sending the woman stumbling out the door, and marched out.

"Pleasant." Dhein remarked, saying with noted speech voicing.

Antimony twisted her hands around her staff and fumed at a level of anger she had not felt in quite some time.

Dhein looked snarky. He walked to the door to close it, swiftly before the elven woman who lingered outside could say anything. Despite his efforts, Llyric glanced up from straightening her clothes and managed to say, "Sorry about your wife," before Dhein closed the door on her.

Re: To Change With Time

PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 1:14 am
by Naunet
"Oooh this is absurd!" Antimony exclaimed after a moment of silence following the thud of the door. "Oversight. Under observation. Ridiculous! I will not stand for it."

"They think I’m a Warlock!" Dhein cast his hands in the air. "How insulting!"

Hmphing in agreement, Antimony brought one hand up to squeeze the bridge of her nose and counted to a slow ten. "Should we continue with our plan?"

"I need to check my wards. Or cast them again." Dhein shook his head. "That woman should not be able to see in here."

"It is offensive that she would even try." But Antimony nodded. "If there are any specifically against scrying, or whatever manner of... observation she has been using..."

"I used as complete a ward as I knew in the first place, since we didn't at the time know anything about the plant's energy." He paced back into the room, tugging on his beard. "Of course, now we know it's harmless. Maybe I'll try forming a ward of the plant's energy itself, since it seems to last so much longer."

"It certainly could not hurt to try." Turning in place to look around the room, Antimony tapped her fingers in a stiff rhythm. "Let us make an effort in that before any other discussion."

"Right." Dhein paced away from the door.

The door slammed open and Twinflame stomped in. She hefted the folded paper Qadr had handed her. "There's nothing written on this paper! I don't know where to find that!"

Antimony spun on the door, a lecture already bubbling to the tip of her rotten tongue. She bit it back with a click of teeth, however, and tried to keep her tone even as she spoke to Twinflame, "That would be because you were tricked."

"But Hellscream needs me!" Twinflame clutched the letter to her chest.

Dhein looked at his daughter, fully distracted, but not really confident in speaking to her.

Antimony would not be so easily sidetracked, though. "Dhein, please get to work on those wards. I will speak with your daughter." And so she approached Twinflame with an empty sigh of useless lungs. Her jaw felt too tight when she spoke, "I am certain the Warchief does, but this particular note was nothing but a ploy, dear."

Twinflame looked at the piece of paper sadly. "Why would someone do that?"

Casting a brief glance towards the ceiling, Antimony gestured in as kind and placating a way as she could muster to the girl. "Because they have no regard to basic decency. It is unfortunate, and I am sorry they tricked you so."

The undead girl showed Antimony the empty page. "But Hellscream needs me."

"Perhaps you should do something for him, then?" Antimony replied, shoulders slumping. She debated whether or not to press Twinflame on how the girl had just abandoned them to Qadr and Llyric's whims, but ultimately decided it would be a fruitless effort. The undead girl likely would have been no help, considering how it played out anyway.

"According to this piece of paper." Twinflame turned the blank side towards her. Then the other blank side. Then she turned and held it up to the light. "He needs me to do nothing."

"... I suppose that is what that means," Antimony muttered. She shook her head slightly then and straightened her posture at a sudden thought. "Twinflame, perhaps you can still help us? Speak to the other Outriders and see what you can learn of this Arm of Kalimdor for us?"

"Kalimdor is a continent." Twinflame turned back. "It would... Do you have a pen?"

"I... what? Whatever for? Twinflame, I am speaking of the organization - of which the two who lied to you are members of..."

Twinflame's eyes flickered and she leaned forward. "Sooooo you don't have?"

Antimony pursed her lips,. "... one moment," and turned to cross the room to their singular table. There she took up the pen lying there and held it towards Twinflame expectantly.

Twinflame took it and put it against the black piece of paper. She punched a hole through it with the pen. "Damn it." She pulled the pen out and ripped the piece of paper almost in half in the process. "I need a new paper."

"Twinflame," Antimony spoke firmly. "Tell me what you are trying to do."

"I have a better idea." Twinflame ripped the piece of paper into scrap, and then crouched on the ground to arrange the fragments into the shape of Kalimdor. "Like this, and this. And then you add this." She arranged some of the paper into the shape of a giant arm on one side.

Antimony blinked down at the construction. Perhaps at another time, she would have found it amusing and endearing, but her patience had worn thin. "Twinflame," she repeated. "The "Arm of Kalimdor" is not literal. It is a group of people."

"Then they would have lots of arms."

"... Yes, they would. But that is rather far from the point." Another, pleading look towards the ceiling, and then she dropped herself carefully down to Twinflame's level. "Look, dear, forget the Arm of Kalimdor. You were busy in Thunder Bluff when we sent message to you, were you not?"

"Something about... firewood?" Twinflame asked.

"Certainly. I believe I recall you mentioning such," Antimony nodded. "Perhaps you should get back to that work. I would feel better if you were not involved in the mess here, I think."

"But if Kalimdor did have an arm." Twinflame picked up the scattered bits of paper. "It would be really big."

"It would have to be," Antimony agreed mildly.

"That sounds dangerous. You should have some help."

"Twinflame, I am unsure what other help you could give more than what you already have."

"No, you said that I was supposed to talk to the people." Twinflame pointed at the door. "When they come, I say, the Outriders know about the work and we're researching it so that everything is okay."

"Those people are gone now." Antimony gestured towards the door illustratively.

"Did I miss them? Or, oh!" Twinflame hopped upright, smiling. "I did agood job, right, and they left because I told them to?"

"I wish it had been the latter, Twinflame. I truly do." Antimony shook her head.

Twinflame blinked. "... Did you need a ladder?"

The older, though still undead, woman blinked, yellow light flickering. "... No? Why would I... focus, Twinflame! I am trying to tell you that I appreciate your effort, but it would be safer for you to return to Thunder Bluff now."

"Oh." Twinflame dropped her hands to her sides and patted her thighs idly. "You should give me a piece of paper."

Antimony tapped her fingers against the side of her staff thrice. "What will you do with it?"

"Nothing."

"... I suppose it couldn't hurt," Antimony murmured and turned to rummage near the table in their sparse remaining supplies. She managed to find a sheet of parchment and considered it for a moment before just shaking her head and turning to offer it to Twinflame.

Twinflame took the piece of paper, and folded it in half. Then she held it out to Antimony. "Take it and hold it for a second."

Tilting her head slightly in confusion, Antimony nonetheless did as requested, perhaps out of some instinctive ability to go along with the seemingly nonsensical requests of children. "Twinflame, I do have a great deal of work I need to get back to," though she did admonish.

The undead girl nodded. "That's fine. Now give me back the piece of paper and tell me you need me to do the thing written on the paper."

Antimony stood silent for a moment before something in her mind clicked, and she arched her brow. "Ah, I see." Pressing her lips together, the undead woman held out the paper. "Take this, Twinflame. I require you to do what I've written upon it."

Twinflame took the paper, opened it up, and gasped. Then she turned it to face Antimony and glared angrily. "There is nothing written here! That's MEAN!"

Antimony's expression flattened. "Twinflame."

The girl tore the piece of paper in half. "That is so mean! You just want me to go away! I thought we were friends after I helped you save that stupid elf man that one time!"

Dhein, working over some reagents near the wall, whimpered.

"Twinflame, calm yourself. This outburst is uncalled for." Antimony frowned. "I do not just "want you to go away". I am concerned for your continued safety."

"That sounds like someone who wants me to go away!" Twinflame threw the two halves of paper into the air and spun away. "Well fine! I'm leaving! I'm going to go get fire because that's all the former Blademaiden of the Forsaken is good for!"

Antimony's shoulders slumped with an empty sigh. "I am too old to be pulled into those games, Twinflame. Return to Thunder Bluff before you get pulled further into this."