Archive for the 'Stories' Category

Vacation (Part Three)

Aeryliss was crouched at a small rock formation on the outskirts of Netherstone, hacking away at a small Khorium vein when she heard it. The earth beneath her trembled slightly, and her ears twitched as the booming footsteps from behind her grew closer. She grinned.

It had been less than half an hour since she’d swindled her employer out of that extra mana injection. Her senses were sharp. Her legs felt lithe and unbreakable. Her fingers tingled restlessly, begging to release a torrent of arcane energy or a mass of deadly flames.

She rose to her feet and spun around with unnatural agility to face the the colossal Farahlon Breaker. The giante towered nearly two stories above her, the violet crystal spikes protruding from its surface adding to its formidable appearance. She’d encountered something similar in her work for the Kirin Tor and was well aware of their brute strength and durability.

The beast didn’t scare her one bit.

As the Breaker swung its giant fist down, she dove to the right, landing with a somersault as the rock shattered and sent bits of stone flying every which way. Between the adrenaline and the synthetic magic flowing through her, she didn’t even notice as one of them shot right by her, slashing through her right shoulder. As the the colossus rose back up, she took advantage of its sluggishness, thrusting her hands out in front of her.

She had no idea what she’d just shot at the giant, but it certainly wasn’t the arcane missile she’d intended. It was off-colored and much, much bigger than anything she’d ever conjured up before. She flew back from the force, slamming against the face of a small cliff. As the mutant bullet collided with the towering rock giant, it burst in a flash of blinding light. It took her a second to realize that the stinging sensation on her face was from the wave of purple sand flying out from where the Breaker used to stand.

Aeryliss trembled for a moment, staring at pile of dust a few yards in front of her in a daze before crawling over to and throwing herself over a small shelf protruding from the face of the cliff. She clutched her stomach with her left hand, swung her blood-soaked right arm over the edge, and began to heave.

With nothing in her stomach to expel, Aeryliss continued to dry-heave until she could barely breathe. Her head was heavy. Her eyelids drooped. Whatever she’d just done had drained every bit of energy she had. The sudden lack of mana had her practically paralyzed. When the heaving stopped and the ringing in her ears subsided a bit she dropped her head, rolling to face the rocky cliff surface. In the sudden silence, she could hear her heart beating unnaturally fast despite the fact that the blood flowing through it felt like mud. Her injured arm hung limply across, and she noticed her skin had taken on a bit of a greyish tint. But before she could dwell on the thought, her eyelids became too heavy. The heat from the Nether and the volatile magic that permeated the region felt heavy as well, as though it draped over her like a blanket.

Aeryliss’s eyes rolled to the back of her head as she lay there, curled pathetically across the jagged rock and allowed her consciousness to slip away.

Vacation (Part 2)

CLINK

CLINK

CLINK

The steady sound of metal on stone had become about as familiar to Aeryliss in the past few days as the feeling of parchment between her fingertips once was when she’d spend days at a time with her face buried in arcane tomes. She felt a certain sense of release every time the steel pick would break through the solid earth with a loud CRACK, yielding bits of raw ore and the occasional precious gem.

She let out a heavy sigh as the last few pieces of Khorium tumbled down the rock, landing at her feet with a rattling sound. She looked up at the sky – the Twisting Nether soared above the broken planet for what seemed like eternity. Looking at it made her head spin. Has it been six hours already? She lifted herself to her feet and wobbled for a moment. Gritting her teeth and leaning against the rock formation for support, she stole another quick glance at the sky.

Only three? How odd. The day before it had been six. Come to think of it, it had taken nearly all day before that. She wondered for a moment if the Consortium was ripping her off – diluting it so she’d have to come back more often. No, no. That didn’t make any sense. She wasn’t actually paying for it, just working. Besides, she’d be able to tell if the solution was any weaker.

A small part of her thought she should be worried by the fact that she was becoming dependent, but to be honest, she didn’t feel much at all. Except maybe a little annoyed.

Aeryliss bent down to pile the last of the ore in to her bag. As she swung the bag over her shoulder, the weight nearly sent her face-first in to the ground. Strange… it never felt that heavy before, and she didn’t have nearly as much this time.

Her stomach turned as she straightened herself out and looked back toward the Stormspire. The distance had seemed much smaller three hours ago, when she’d decided to go without her wind rider. She vaguely recalled the feeling. The mana injectors hit instantly, filling her with an incredible energy and a strange sense of invulnerability. It was as though she had pure electricity running through her veins rather than blood.

But now, the electricity was gone. As she began the walk back, she was very much aware of the unnatural Netherstorm heat on the back of her neck and the way it seemed to intensify the haviness of her head and the churning in her stomach. When she finally arrived and stepped off the lift, she dropped her bag and headed straight for the engineer she’d been working for.

“Back so soon?” He eyed her curiously.

She nodded. “And with about forty power cores worth of Khorium.”

“Impressive,” the Etheral shook his head and chuckled, “I don’t know how you do it, kid.” He gathered up the bag and piled it next to his other materials and engineering gadgets.

Aeryliss looked up at him wearilly. “Those injectors certainly help,” she replied suggestively.

He blinked. “You just had one a few hours ago. Look, since you’re back so early, why don’t you get some rest? You haven’t slept since the night you got here. There’s bread in the back, too. Haven’t eaten much, either.”

Aeryliss frowned. She didn’t want to rest. Too much room for her mind to wander. And the thought of eating made her feel even sicker. She grinned at the engineer and raised her eyebrow slyly. “Bet I can get you forty more.”

Just as she’d suspected, he couldn’t say no to extra profit. He tossed her another injector. She swirled it in front of her face for a moment, watching as it sloshed around inside, almost appearing to be several colors at once – kind of like the way oil is, depending on what angle the light is hitting it at. She popped off the protective covering and expertly plunged the device in to her neck. She didn’t even flinch this time. She just closed her eyes and smiled, allowing that sweet electricity to flow through her once again.

And with that, she headed back toward the lift.

I think I’ll walk this time. It’s not that far.

Vacation (Part One)

Please stay safe.

Aeryliss stared at the desperately scrawled sentence for a moment. It sounded stupid and dramatic. She lifted the pen to scratch it out then stopped, shook her head, and just kept writing. There wasn’t time to worry about that. She quickly signed the note and sent it off, gathering her things and hurrying through the portal by the Murder Row mailbox that was about to dissipate.

As she emerged from the other side of the portal, Aeryliss gazed up at A’dal for a moment. She closed her eyes, letting a wave of comfort spread through her. Giving a quick, appreciative nod, she continued on her way with a clear head.

“Where to?”

Aeryliss stared blankly at the flight master and realized that she wasn’t quite sure.

“Nevermind. Sorry.” She shrugged and made her way toward the Lower City.

As she approached the small Consortium platform, one of the Ethereals held out his arms with an inquisitive grin. He grabbed her shoulders and greeted her in a high pitched, raspy voice.

“Dora! Good to see you again.”

He’d called her that ever since she first approached the Consortium in Nagrand.
“Those are some long ears you got, kid,” he joked, “What are ya, some kinda rabbit girl?”
She just smiled and replied, “Sin’dorei. It means ‘children of the blood’ in my language. Though, most people just call us Blood Elves.”
He shrugged and looked at her like she was some kind of crazy. “Alright then, Sindora.”

“Nice to see you too, Zenn.”

Aeryliss explained to Zennshi that she was going to be in the area for a few days and was wondering if she could do the Consirtium some favors in exchange for a bed. After a minute or so of negotiating and a few questionable exchanges, she returned to the flight master.

“Netherstorm. Stormspire.”

Liss’s Wish

Aeryliss stared at the small coin in her hand, turning it over and over as though she expected it to do something.
aeryfountain
“Make a wish, Lissa!” She looked up at Lanuria’s face, all lit up like a little kid in a toy store or something. She watched as the ranger held her coin up to her lips for a moment before tossing it in to the Dalaran fountain.

She blinked down at the coin. She knew it was just a silly superstition, that throwing money in to a fountain couldn’t really grant wishes… but it seemed important to Lanuria. She looked back up at her. “What do I wish for?” Lanuria smiled and replied simply, “Anything you want.”

Anything she wanted? There were plenty of things she wanted, but she was pretty sure she could only wish for one thing per coin. She started going through them in her mind. She wanted to leave Northrend. No, she couldn’t wish for that. She had to stay. She had to pull through, for her people, for everything she believed in. She wanted independence, something that seemed to be slipping away from her lately. But at what cost?

There was something else she wanted. Something she couldn’t quite seem to figure out, with long dark hair and- No. She shouldn’t wish for that. She shouldn’t even want that.

She looked at Lanuria watching her with that childlike sparkle in her eye. She looked back down at the coin and held it to her lips, muttering her secret wish. She flung the coin in to the fountain and smiled up at Lan. “Let’s go.”

Don’t let him run away again. From either of us.

Certificate of Ownership

<Corny flashback fade-in>

“Liss, this is ridiculous.” Tyrellian objected in a low voice as he tried to match Aeryliss’s pace without knocking in to anything.

The young elven girl giggled impishly as she maneuvered her tiny body between bushes, boxes, and other random street ornaments, trying to keep herself out of sight of the large figures several yards ahead. She stopped, peeking over a stack of boxes as the men she’d been following met up with another across the street. “Shh!” she shushed the boy as he opened his mouth to object again. He hesitated for a moment, then decided to ignore her.

“Liss, you don’t even know what they were talking about. How do you know it’s so important?” he demanded in a harsh whisper.

Aeryliss let out an impatient sigh, but her sly expression and the familiar twinkle in her eye gave her away. She’d never admit it, but she found Tyrellian’s tentative disposition rather endearing. She’d known him for quite some time, and despite his cautious nature, she had somehow always managed to convince him to accompany her wherever her reckless impulses led her. She enjoyed his company. He was quite a bit older than her comparatively, but he never spoke to her in that condescending tone that she hates. On occasion, she’d even catch him looking at her with the most peculiar expression – something close to admiration, yet different somehow. In any case, she liked being around him and often felt that he didn’t realize the extent of her appreciation. Despite the amount of time they spent together, he always seemed to be holding back. Part of her wondered if he was trying to protect her in some way, be some kind of “role model.” It frustrated her, but she let it go for once.

“Will you be quiet, Ty? I’m trying to listen,” she said as she slowly peeked out over the top of the box.

“What do you think they’re talking about?” he asked, trying to sound reprimanding, though she could sense the slightest tone of curiosity in his tone. She may have been reckless, but she was clever. He knew that; and she knew that he knew it.

“They could have important news for Lordaeron – something big. There is a war going on, you know.” She frowned with disappointment as she watched the three men part ways, slumping back down against the wall. “We missed it!”

Tyrellian smiled at her with a sort of paternal admiration. “Well, if it was anything important, we’ll hear about it soon enough. Come on, let’s get out of here.” He looked to make sure the street was empty before standing upright and reaching a hand down to help her up. She grabbed it, stood up, and brushed her robes off idly.

“I’m not going to be here much longer, Tyrellian,” she reminded him as though it were somehow related to the situation at hand. He shot her an unconvincing smile.

“Well,” he said, “I just hope that you’re not too smart for me when you’re done with your training in Dalaran. Don’t forget to get your head out of those dusty old tomes every once in awhile.”

“As long as you’re not out getting yourself killed on the front lines with the rest of  the Farstriders,” she replied in a startlingly casual tone.

“You saw how much support Anasterian sent to aid the Alliance. I don’t think they’re all that important to him. Unless things take a turn for the worst, I don’t think it’ll come to that,” he said with confidence. “Besides,” he added with a slight grin, “I’m still a novice. They’d have to be really desperate to send me out there.”

<Corny flashback fade-out>

Aeryliss stood at the head of the great white Talbuk, admiring the strong build and elegance of the creature and the shine of its newly polished armor. It stared back at her with a familiar expression. In the few days since she acquired the mount, they’d formed a relatively solid relationship and seemed be at a mutual understanding. She glanced at the beasts eyes, and it hit her. It was a mostly indifferent expression, yet somehow vigilant at the same time. As soon as she saw it, her mind raced back nearly thirty years. She hadn’t heard from Tyrellian since sometime during the Second War. She’d left for Dalaran, and he’d gone off to train under the Farstriders. Something about the animal standing before her reminded her of her old friend. She swiftly mounted the beast, tugging the reins lightly.

“Let’s go, Ty.”

Sentimental Value

“Do you have your key?”

The plain-looking blonde dressed in a simple netherweave garment stared blankly through Aeryliss as she rummaged through her pack. As she felt around at the bottom, her thin fingers brushed over the cold metal and she quickly grasped it by the teeth and slid it across the counter toward the banker. Her expression sill vacant, the woman asked in a dreary tone, “Storage or safety deposit?”

“Safety deposit.”

The blonde ducked behind the counter for a moment, then stood back up and slid the box across to the young mage. Aeryliss lifted the lid carefully and frowned slightly at the sparse contents. At the bottom of the box laid two small bags of gold, a ring box, and another case, thinner and wider than the first. She pushed the money bags aside and grabbed the two boxes, shutting the lid and sliding the box back toward the lethargic elf. Tucking her key back in her pack along with the two new parcels, she headed out of the bank and back toward Scryer’s Tier. She reached the inn and sat down at a small, secluded table, pulling out some paper. She began to write:

Dear Father
Varendil

Aeryliss tightened her lips, tapping her fingers on the table impatiently. She stared at the paper for a moment before sighing and starting to write again

Varen,

I’m not sure what use you’ll have for this anymore, but I thought you should have it. If I’ve deduced correctly, it was yours to begin with, so it only makes sense that it be returned to you. What you choose to do with it is your own affair, but it certainly hasn’t served any purpose sitting in my bank vault all these years.

Hope you are well,
Aeryliss

She folded the letter neatly and quickly scanned the table. Spotting a small white candle across from her seat, she shrugged and grabbed it, tilting it slightly so a few drops of wax fell to the paper, sealing it. She mashed the wax down with the base of the candle and grinned to herself, imagining how her father – the self-appointed Silvermoon fashion police – would react upon seeing such a crudely manufactured stamp. She attached the letter to the ring box and slid it to the side, grabbing a clean sheet of paper.

Lanuria,

She began to address the letter, then stopped and picked up the flatter, wider box, gingerly lifting the lid. She lifted the small piece from the container and smiled to herself as she felt the smooth feathers brush across her fingers. She let out a quick sigh and carefully set it back in the box. She then crumpled up the paper and threw it across the room.

I’ll deliver this one myself.

Aeryliss swept  up the parcels and shoved them back in her bag as she got up from the table. Her stomach did a somersault as she exited the small inn and headed back toward the Terrace of Light.


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