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Joined: February 18th, 2015, 5:27 pm

Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:37 pm

Vionora stood atop one of the highest buildings in Stormwind. The blue shingles ended abruptly beyond her feet, and she gazed into the open space. There were a few outcroppings that a simple jump might not clear before the deceptively bright, grassy ground would be reached. Then again, maybe taking a few hits on the way down would be more effective, as long as the momentum wasn’t completely broken.

Effective for most anyone else, anyway.

Her recent brush with death was only due to the counter-curse, and that had been removed. The full power of Accalia’s mark flowed through her again, ensuring even mortal injuries would be only temporary. Death was denied her again – and not just once over, but twice, now, with the tether binding her soul.

So Vionora gazed at what she could not have, and did not move when the rogue climbed up onto the tiles behind her.

She knew he was there as well as he’d known she was near. This wasn’t the first time he’d been drawn to her. He’d told her his name last time... Tirien.

“Enough of a fall to kill me, do you think?” she asked him.

“Who knows?” he said. He sounded unconcerned. “All menner’a things out there to break yer fall.”

“Yes... and I’m not sure I’d die, regardless...” she murmured.

“Uh...” His tone was a little skeptical, but all he said was, “Don’t test it, alright?”

“I was hit by a rocket launcher... later skewered with a sword... and here I am, still alive.” Of course, those were only the things that had happened recently, and in this so-called waking world. In the dream, she had died countless times. She wondered what he’d think of that, but didn’t see the relevance of mentioning it. She wasn’t sure why she was speaking at all, in fact.

“A bullet nicked my heart and a charge of seaforium went off near my gut,” he responded. “Shit happens. You get better.”

She turned her head enough to look at him, where he had found a seat on a spine of the roof. He was a human, with dark gold hair, somewhat tousled by the strong wind blowing over the roof, and thick facial hair. He wore scuffed leathers and clearly had seen better days. His eyes were cautious, but not cold.

The white moon, Elune, was setting on the horizon behind him; to her other side, the sun was setting behind the mountains. The Blue Child was not in the sky. Gryphonriders patrolled, but somehow failed to notice either of them on the roof. Perhaps all they saw was faint shadows.

“You don’t understand,” Vionora said quietly, “but I don’t even know why I’m saying that, because no one does.”


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:38 pm

He seemed to take a moment to look at her. He might have let out a breath, but the wind masked it. “I understand yer a survivor,” he said. “In some way, at least.”

“A survivor,” she repeated. How ironic to be lauded for the very thing she struggled so fruitlessly against. “Is that why I fascinate you?” she asked.

Tirien sighed and looked over to the mountains surrounding the city, contemplative. “I ain’t gonna bother askin’ questions I can’t answer,” he said.

She considered that. “Why would you be answering, unless you were asking yourself the questions?”

He nodded. “Ain’t that a cuhnundrum?” Leaning forward, he rested his chin in his hand. “The more I meet with you, the more it makes me think, is all.”

That, she could understand. “So, I am a symbol to yet another. A figure.” Someone to look down on... someone to hate... an enemy; a monster. Always, just an embodiment of whatever they wanted to see.

But he wasn’t put off. “Naw. Yer just another person like anybody else.”

The sincerity of his words surprised her into silence. There wasn’t any... defensiveness in his tone. He went on.

“Ya just got way too much crap on yer shoulders right now,” he said.

“Right now,” she echoed. As if any moment in her life had ever been bearable.

“Yeah. Th’ present’s what matters most. Ya know, ‘cuz yer here.”

She tilted her head slightly, not responding. He grew awkward.

“Uh... er somethin’... Nevermind.”

He should not have come to her. She’d thought the first time that maybe he had a death wish, and had been willing to fulfill it for him. But that had evidently been wrong. So why approach her again? “Do you not feel fear?” she asked.

The rogue rubbed a hand over the bottom half of his face. “Used t’ it by now,” he said, then added, “Also, I mean, it was one Fel of a climb up here, y’ know? So hey. Once the adrenaline’s gone maybe I’ll panic. Doubt it though.”

She hadn’t been asking him about the heights, but it didn’t matter. His words made her consider the path that she had traveled that had brought her here, to this very spot, contemplating a fall that would take her nowhere. In a way... “It was more like a fall,” she murmured, that had brought her to this point.

“Pff what?” he said. “Yer tellin’ me ya just... wound up here? On the top’a th’ King’s castle?” He glanced upward, to the sky. “Why the shit ain’t the Riders spotted us yet...”

Was it the castle she stood on? She hadn’t even been paying attention. Still, she knew better than to plead a complete lack of culpability in where her life had gone. “I made choices,” she said, “but I never knew they weren’t the right ones.”

Oh, she’d known when they were morally wrong. But she hadn’t known they would only damn her further. But yet again, the distinction wasn’t worth the effort it would take to make. Those words were as much as she could muster.

“Yeah well. Yer still alive, so maybe they weren’t so bad after all?” he suggested.

He didn’t understand at all. “If you value life,” Vionora said simply.

“Woah, woah, woah-hoooho.” He waved his hands in front of him in a ‘slow down’ fashion. “If yer plannin’ t’ jump, I ain’t gonna talk ya out’a it. Not here fer that, so, I mean, if ya wanna do it, wait till I leave?”

“Even if I die, it won’t be over, now.” Why this urge to explain to him persisted, she didn’t know, but it kept making her say things. She didn’t look at him.

“Now how do ya figure that?” he asked.

“Because the warlock bound my soul,” she said.

There were various warlocks entangled with the Eclipse now; but there was only one who threatened her, as a flame threatens a moth. Absently, Vionora passed a hand over her midriff, trying to find the invisible tether she could feel on her soul but not in reality. It was like a manacle, holding her where she did not want to be.

Tirien was overcome by silence. Eventually, he spoke. “That fuckin’ sucks. Pardon my language.”


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:39 pm

“I should have just ended it... but when I realized how pointless life was for everyone... it just made sense to allow Accalia free first.”

Those moments after Accalia’s return had been so clear to her. She may as well have been asleep ever since she woke from the dream seven years ago. A dream that had slowly revealed itself to be nothing more than a nightmare; the nightmare that was life. And then her eyes had been opened. But now... Now she was beginning to understand. There was no such thing as awakening. The nightmare was reality; what she had thought was reality, what she had always been told was truth, was the dream.

“Suffering will never let me go,” she whispered.

“How old are ya?” Tirien asked abruptly.

She had to stop to think about it. “Sixty-eight,” she said.

“In Human years, right?” he said. “Er... I dunno how it goes with Elves. But ya gotta have like, what? Three? Four hundred plus left in ya? Ain’t no way you can know yer future. Anythin’ can happen.”

“Three or four hundred more years of suffering.” Again, she didn’t know why she was bothering to try to explain. But he neither assaulted her with accusations nor tried to feed her saccharine wishes. His optimism stopped short of the absurd. It was a rarity, she thought.

Then he said, “Ah well... If ya insist to keep it that way..”

She didn’t realize her hands clenched, but they did. There it was. Laying the blame at her feet. All of her suffering was always held to be her own fault. Accalia whispered to her.


“Somethin’ on yer mind?” Tirien asked, cautiously.


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:41 pm

“Helps t’ get shit off yer chest,” he added.

“It only gets thrown back at me,” she said, with a trace of bitterness.

“Well damn! By who? I’ll kick their teeth in,” he offered, unexpectedly gallantly.

“You, most recently.”

There was a profound silence as Tirien stared at her, going back over his words. Vionora found herself speaking.

“I’ve spent my entire life telling myself that everything that’s happened to me is my fault. Trying to find out how to make the pain I was ‘inflicting on myself’ stop...”

Vionora was interrupted when Tirien, inexplicably, clocked himself in the face.

She looked at him as he apparently did so with so much force that he went tumbling down the slope of the roof. At the last moment, he grabbed onto the edge, and dangled there for a moment before hoisting himself back up. Back on the tiles, he took a moment to calm down.

“Holy Light,” he said presently. “Okay. There.” He checked his teeth with a finger and pulled out a molar. He snickered and tossed it over the edge.

Vionora could only suppose she was no stranger to self-inflicted punishment. “Does it help you, to blame yourself?” she asked.

“Sometimes,” he responded. “Helps more t' blame th’ folks who’s actually responsible.” Rubbing his jaw, he said, “Damn... better watch my mouth ‘round you or I’ll need new teeth.”

Vionora looked off the edge again. Below, the shadows were deepening, faster than they were atop the roof. She raised her left hand, the demonic-seal marked hand, curling it against her chest. Who was actually responsible for suffering? Suffering was not a person. Suffering made no choices, no decisions. It just was.

“So, why d’ ya think whatever’s ailin’ ya is all yer fault?” Tirien asked.

“Because everyone says so.”

She didn’t see it, but he arced a brow and cracked up a little into a grin. “You need new friends, miss,” he informed her.

“I’ve never had a friend.”

She had wanted Jazziks to be her friend, but that was never meant to be, not with Sinaku between them. And to everyone else, she was something else.

“Huh, well, ya seem t’ be surrounded by idiots then,” Tirien said. “I say ditch ‘em.”

She wondered why she didn’t simply dismiss him as inane. But no one even bothered saying these things to her, not anymore. Maybe that was why she kept responding. “You don’t know that they’re wrong,” she said.

The rogue shifted a hand to his waist. “Oh really?”

“You don’t know anything,” Vionora said quietly. Especially not about her. He didn’t know that it was all her fault. No, it’s not, said a voice inside of her, a voice she didn’t dare listen to. Accalia smiled.

“I know enough t’ know there’s just shit out there that ain’t anyone’s fault.”

His voice brought her back to the present. She blinked, dropping her hand. The sureness with which he spoke was that which came from a solid understanding of something; the kind that comes from within. She glanced at him again, this time just a quick look. Accalia was silent.


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:42 pm

“An’ I also know another thing,” he said. “There’s always some light at th’ end’a th’ tunnel, if ya don’t mind me rippin’ off someone else’s words there. Granted though, I mean, sometimes the light is a shitty, cracked bulb with just a hot wire in it.” He paused, sitting back down on the roof and rubbing his jaw again. “Damnit... See what I mean? Ya make me think stuff I don’t really want ta think about.”

“It’s nothing but an illusion to make you hope, so that the suffering hurts more, that light,” Vionora said.

“Well yeah if ya look away from it,” Tirien said.

Her shoulders slumped. “Sometimes it hurts too much to keep gazing at it... Sometimes the suffering is easier.” Easier to never hope at all than to hope and have that hope crushed. Easier to choose pain than to live in fear of it.

“That don’t sound fun at all,” Tirien said.

She didn’t say anything; just looked off the edge again. The fall beckoned, a false promise. It was one of many. She could see through it, but it remained there, refusing to leave her be.

“Here’s my logic,” Tirien said. “You can jump an’ hit the ground, sure, that’s a kind’a suffering, I suppose. But why not enjoy the rush of wind through your hair or the adrenaline pumpin’ through yer veins? When I said that crap about lights and tunnels I don’t mean some long ass journey of self discovery. I meant findin’ little things that make th’ big ones bearable.”

He was looking at her. Vionora lifted her head, looking at the darkening sky. Tirien raised a finger, about to add something, but reconsidered. Then he said it anyway.

“That said, uh, I don’t recommend booze fer that.”

“I don’t know... how to enjoy anything,” Vionora said.

“Now that’s just a flat out lie. There’s somethin’ there. What do you like?”

Vionora was taken aback. She didn’t respond right away.

“Take yer time,” he said, utterly seriously.

She stood there for a good five minutes, looking off into space, and trying to remember something that she liked. She couldn’t remember ever being happy. Maybe viciously gleeful, when she was a Ranger. Blindly hopeful, after she and Elek escaped the dream. But something that she liked, that actually made her happy...

“...I used to like... cats,” she said eventually.


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:42 pm

“Cats, eh?” Tirien said.

Vionora had sunk down to the roof tiles, finally. She curled her legs beneath her in the elegant gown. “There was a kitten...” she said slowly. “I thought about hurting it... But I didn’t. It was defenseless. Wasn’t even going to survive without help.”

Tirien was silent, listening. Vi remembered as she spoke, drawing the memories from a place she never went anymore.

“I fed it milk, let it suckle it out of a piece of cloth. It got strong enough.. It was curious, brave... Liked to explore... liked to jump on things... It would attack my fingers when I wiggled them. Little scratches, didn't really hurt. It didn't know what it was doing.” She paused. “I showed it to Shaena one day...” She was silent for another few long moments, then said, “My uncle smashed it beneath his boot.”

Tirien nodded and leaned back on his palms. He looked up at the stars slowly coming into view. “Yeah,” he said. “That was your fault.”

She didn’t respond.

“Was yer fault that cat got th’ chance t’ grow,” he went on. “Yer fault as well that cat had someone t’ play with. An’ yer fault again that it had someone who cared for it. It wasn’t yer fault it died.”

“No, it wasn’t... I realized that eventually...” It had taken her some time to understand; some time and two visits to Stratholme. She wanted to laugh, but didn’t. Because she had also learned that fault didn’t matter. Suffering would have its due. Who is to blame for suffering? But others would have blamed her for it nonetheless. Her thoughts tilted back and forth, back and forth.

“Well,” Tirien said. “I woke up with th’ fattest furball sleepin’ on my face about two weeks ago. I nearly suffocated. Th’ thing got spooked and left me a nasty scratch on my cheeks.” He clapped his hands together. “So it’s safe t’ say I’m a dog person.” He smiled.

Listening to him distracted her from her thoughts. Maybe it was inane, but it was better than Accalia’s whispers, her own thoughts warring.

“Never owned one, though. Michael an’ I would feed one every now n’ then in Moonbrook when we were little. You have any siblings?” he asked.

“A... cousin.”

If he noticed the hesitation, he didn’t comment on it. “Grew up with ‘em er somethin’?” he asked. “Or just like a distant one?”

“Yes, from my later childhood,” she said. ”Goodbye, sweetie,” her mother had whispered.

“They still around, or are y’all not on speakin’ terms?” Tirien asked, but then narrowed his features. “Ohh, uh... Ya don’t gotta answer th—”

“I saw her again recently,” Vionora said.

“Well it’s my hope y’all met on good terms, but I get a feelin’ it was... rocky?” he guessed.

“She adores me...”

“Well that’s handy. Having a gofer is always nice.” He snickered.

“...despite everything I did, and still do, to her,” Vionora finished.

“You tease ‘er or somethin’?” Tirien asked. “I know Mike an’ I got into it a lot over the smallest stuff.”

“I hurt her as much as my uncle hurt me, but in different ways.” Ways that weren’t easily seen.

“This uncle’a yers doesn't sound like a good guy,” Tirien said. “At all.” He popped his knuckles. “He still around?”

“I don’t know. Probably not.” He had probably died in the Scourge invasion; she had left home well before that. She looked down at her hands in her lap. The marks glowed softly in the twilight. It was strange, talking about her uncle. She’d never told anyone about him, before; not even Elek, though she felt that in a way he knew. But other than that, only Shaena knew.

“Damn,” Tirien said. “Well, I ain’t gonna hunt ‘em down.”

“You’d do the world more good if you killed me instead,” Vionora said.

Tirien responded readily to that. “See, nothin’ ever good comes from that. Like, ever. It’s such a waste of potential. So no. I ain’t gonna kill ya. I’m gonna sit here an’ talk with ya s’more.”

Vionora couldn’t see the difference; the distinction. She lowered her head a little further. “Do you hope to solve the problem by offering a pity-friendship?” she inquired. It was all too likely. Everyone always wanted something out of her; this would be no different. Of course, when push came to shove, even the kindest-seeming turned on her. It was always a lie.

“Miss,” Tirien said.


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Re: Eclipse: The Fall

by Vionora » March 27th, 2015, 8:43 pm

“Vionora,” she said.

“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I talked to anyone ‘cept myself?”

She tilted her head a little, but didn’t look at him. “Does that count the fel inside of you?” she asked.

Tirien clenched his jaw. He hadn’t been expecting that. “We ain’t really on civil speakin’ terms...” he said.

“Accalia tells me to tame it,” Vionora said. “Your fel.”

She could feel it in him, the unwelcome presence. It felt to him like the fel inside of her did to her. It was what she had sensed when he’d bumped into her leaving the cathedral district that very first night, what had given both of them pause then.

Tirien looked over to the mountains again. “Good luck. Th’ bastard’s stubborn.” He paused. “That ain’t an invitation though.” Then he gripped his gut, his expression turning sour. It was definitely a feeling Vionora knew well.

“I don’t listen to her, anyway,” she said.

“An’ I don’t listen t’ him,” he said. “I hate it.”

She turned her head, looking at him. This time, she held his gaze. “It? Or him?” she asked.

“Both. I don’t feel clean. I don’t feel right. I hate how I got t’ this point an’ I don’t understand why me?”

Vionora shuddered at the words that so nearly described her own feelings. She lifted her left hand to rub at her shoulder. The only difference was, she didn’t ask why. “Maybe you deserve it,” she muttered, not talking about him.

“Maybe. In a sense how I got here is partly my fault. Though I’ve spent a long, long time dwellin’ on that thought.”

She couldn’t look at him any longer. “Haven’t we all,” she said, even though she didn’t really mean it. Maybe, maybe, Tirien understood. If anything he was saying was true. But no one else really could.

“Mm. I think it’ll be ten years ago by next month.”

“You’ve lived with the fel for ten years?” Vionora couldn’t imagine.

“In a way, yeah. I didn’t know it was there till about half a year ago though.” He swallowed. “Yep. A month from now. I’ll need to visit Westfall. Anniversary’a Michael’s passing.”

“Your brother?” She understood, now, why he had referred to him the way he had. But she was surprised to find herself caring enough to ask.

“Yeah.” He was silent for a bit, then said, “Sorry, I really don’t mean t’ unload on ya like I have.”

“No one has... sat and talked to me without an agenda, in a very long time,” Vionora said slowly. “I’m still not convinced you aren’t just trying to manipulate me.”

Thinking, she slowly rose to her feet. Tirien watched her with a calm, questioning air, until she approached. Then tensing a little, he moved to stand. She stopped more than arms’ length away, looking at him.

“What do you want?” she asked him.

He met her gaze. His lips thinned. “I want...”

She waited.

“I want to talk with you again some time,” he said finally.

“Just to talk to me again?” she asked.

He nodded, and swallowed. “Yeah.” There was loneliness in him. “I... really enjoyed this.”

“You enjoyed talking about all these terrible things.” Her tone might have been the slightest bit flat.

“Yeah. It’s helped...” He tried to find the words.

“Nothing has changed,” Vionora said.

“Except that the weight on my shoulders feels a little lighter,” he said.

Did it matter? she wanted to ask. But she didn’t. She already knew the answer. She turned away, walking back to the edge of the roof.

“The light always burns out,” she said, and stepped off.

He ran to the edge, dropping down and looking for her, but she was gone. But he could still sense her near. Maybe he would see her again.

However, the next person she saw was Naheal.



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