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Old 09-21-2018, 02:28 PM
Immion Immion is offline

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Default Thalyssra/Liadrin — Whispers of Night and Day

Synopsis: In the aftermath of the burning of Teldrassil, First Arcanist Thalyssra and Lady Liadrin visit the battlefield to reflect on what has transpired.

Length: ~ 2000 words

Last edited by Immion; 09-21-2018 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:29 PM
Immion Immion is offline

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The great tree still burned. Like a giant torch it stood upright in the water, the blaze roaring its hoarse whisper while billowing plumes of black smoke choked the night sky. The coast of Darkshore too still showed the signs of a war that had shaken the world of Azeroth in its foundations. The husks of burned out buildings and siege engines stood silently in the night, bathing as ashen witnesses in the fiery glow of the distant inferno. Debris and shed weaponry of all shapes and sizes littered the ground alongside the corpses of the fallen. Those that had died on land lay perfectly still, but the ones floating in the water still bobbed back and forth in a mocking semblance of life, as if unwilling to accept how many lives had been lost here.

It was on that very shore that the crack in reality appeared. A glow sprang to life, jolting blues and violets and whites that hummed and hissed as they expanded until they framed a doorway to an altogether different part of the world. Two pairs of feet stepped through and dug their soles into the grey sand of Darkshore. The first was barefooted, the skin a deep purple, graceful ankles adorned by delicate anklets of silver and glowing spellwork. The second pair looked much more bulky in comparison, encased in red and golden plate armor. What united the women to which these belonged was the graven expression upon their faces as they took in the carnage that surrounded them.

First Arcanist Thalyssra's face was filled with concern and doubt as she looked around. She turned towards her companion and shook her head.

"When I convinced my people to join the Horde, I did not think it would be for this."

Lady Liadrin, matriarch of the Blood Knights, nodded at her, then turned her gaze towards the burning tree once more. Her expression was harder, more composed. Instead of sadness her golden eyes were ablaze with fury.

"Neither did I," she said.

"When Tyrande spurned us, thinking us undeserving of her trust, I admit part of me wished to make her regret those words. But this? It shames me, but I believe if anything we have proven her point for her."

The leather of Liadrin's gauntlet groaned as she clenched her fist. "You can't blame yourself for this. This is not your doing."

"Is it not? We are part of the Horde, and it was the Horde that did this. Our peoples' joined power kept the mages of Eldre'thalas from bringing the Sentinel fleet back faster." Thalyssra chuckled joylessly. "At first, it seemed almost innocent compared to our fight against the Legion. Just two groups of mages, competing to either disrupt or invoke great teleportation spells. We nearly failed, too. If the circumstances were any different, I think I would have liked to meet this Mordent Evenshade that your people spoke of."

"Ultimately, you bested him, though."

Thalyssra shrugged. "I had more people, and I had not just flown halfway across the continent to reach my destination. But yes, we beat them. Look to what end. Not so long ago, some of those soldiers might have fought beside both of us to save my city."

"It is unlikely — " Liadrin started, but Thalyssra cut her off.

"It does not matter. Because of what I did, my people are complicit in what happened here."

"You had no choice," Liadrin insisted. "Your people have just joined the Horde. Opposing the Warchief this early would put you in a perilous position."

Thalyssra started to walk. She made her way over to the body of a sentinel and knelt down beside her, studying the Kaldorei's wartorn face. Her own expression saddened.

"Curious. so you say I have committed my people to something wicked in order to keep them safe, regardless of the consequences for the rest of the world? One would have thought I amongst all people would know better than that."

"That was different!" Liadrin was trembling with suppressed rage by now.

Thalyssra studied her for a moment, then closed the sentinel's eyes, stood up and walked back towards Liadrin.

"I don't think it was. But let's talk about you. Why are you trying to defend her?"

Liadrin's eyes flared. "You really have to ask? If anyone is to blame for your part in this, it is not you, but I! I was the one that suggested your people as potential allies and I was the one that brought you in, putting you into that position. So I will not stand here and listen to you trying to shoulder this all by yourself."

For the first time that day, a genuine — albeit sad — smile crossed Thalyssra's face. She put a hand to Liadrin's armored shoulder. "I am sorry, Liadrin. I had not even considered your own feelings in the matter. Thank you, but my actions and those of my people are my own. The only thing worse than having to take responsibility for this would be to be incapable of doing so."

It took a few moments for the words to reach Liadrin, but eventually they achieved the desired effect. Liadrin stopped trembling, and an audible sigh accompanied the unclenching of her first. She closed her eyes and put her own hand on top of Thalyssra's.

"And that is why your people are so fortunate to have you as their leader."

Thalyssra grimaced. "I doubt many of my people will see it like that when they hear about this."

She turned back towards the tree and sighed.

"I knew that I would make mistakes. Being leader to an entire people is still new to me. I had hoped for a less rocky start, though."

"You regret it, then? Joining the Horde?"

Thalyssra did not answer straight away. She knew it was a loaded question, one capable of bringing much anguish to Liadrin. She considered her words carefully.

"Today is a day full of regret," she said, locking eyes with Liadrin. "Given the choice, I would prevent what has happened here today and save those who once upon a time were my people. But I still believe in the promise the Horde holds for the Nightborne. I don't regret accepting the invitation, nor meeting the one who ended up bringing that offer to me."

The ghost of a smile passed over Liadrin's face. The nod she gave Thalyssra was more of a bow, and Thalyssra responded in kind. The silence that followed was almost celebratory in nature. It did not last very long, though. Off the coast, a massive charred branch crashed into the sea. They both watched it disappear.

"I was never much involved in the politics of the Horde up until now," Liadrin said. "I served my people and while the Horde and its actions certainly affected us, I never much cared for who its warchief was at the time. Thrall, Vol'jin, not even Garrosh Hellscream particular occupied my mind until it became apparent that the Siege of Orgrimmar would take place. I always felt my first duty was to my order and my people. It even made me abandon my faith for a time. Now I feel like everything that happens to your people is partly my responsibility as well. It makes me see many things differently."

Thalyssra nodded. In truth, she had only a faint idea about half the people Liadrin had just mentioned. There had not exactly been much time for her to catch up on the Horde's colorful history yet. At one point Liadrin had shared with her the story of the Sin'dorei prince, Kael'thas Sunstrider, and how he had allied with the Legion to the detriment of his own people. It had been something Thalyssra had been able to sympathize with very easily. In fact, the understanding they shared because of that story was probably one of the reasons for how their mutual respect had blossomed into something that Thalyssra considered a dear friendship. Without that understanding, she probably be watching the burning tree by herself right now.

"I don't presume to know what the warchief intends," she said, "but I fear things are going to get harder rather than easier for you. If we have truly driven the Kaldorei off their lands, total domination over Kalimdor lies within the Horde's reach. I doubt that such an advantageous opportunity will be passed up upon, which means — "

" — the Draenei." All traces of emotion had left Liadrin's voice. Her face hardened into an inscrutable mask, but Thalyssra did not need to read Liadrin's face to know that her friend was being torn up by fear and fury in this moment. Liadrin might have fought side by side with the Kaldorei during the battle for Suramar, but the bond she shared with the Draenei was of an altogether different quality.

"Have they not suffered enough?" she asked. "Their people and the Naaru have fought almost to extinction against the Burning Legion and without them we never would have prevailed in that fight! I — my people, we owe them everything!"

Thalyssra did not reply. She stared at Teldrassil, once more mesmerized by the carnage and what it represented. Should she not have felt the same way about the Kaldorei as Liadrin felt about the Draenei? During the Legion's first invasion of Azeroth, it had been Kaldorei Heroes such as Tyrande and Malfurion Stormrage that had turned the tide. If not for their bravery, no matter how strong the shield around Suramar might have been, the Legion would have eventually breached it. And how had she repaid them for their sacrifices?

"What are you going to do?" she asked. She was almost desperate to hear the answer, if only to see whether her own actions would be able to measure up to it.

Liadrin shook her head, but her voice remained hard and determined. "I don't know. It is not like I haven't fought the Draenei before, but ever since the Sunwell, I have tried to repay them and the Light for the chance at redemption they have granted my people. I am not about to stop now."

I never even started. Thalyssra's verdict of herself was crushing, but she was not about to let it show. She simply nodded.

"I expected nothing less from a hero of your caliber."

Liadrin ignored the compliment. "What about you?"

Thalyssra crossed her arms and took a deep long breath. "It is as you say. My people's position on the political stage is currently precarious at best. To react now would be foolish. So we will bid our time. But mark my words, I have not seen my people liberated from one tyrant only to deliver them to the next one myself. I will not stand for it. One of the Horde's virtues it is ability to change and adapt. We will see in what direction it will ultimately steer in all of this."

"No matter what happens, I will support you in whatever way I can, and although I cannot promise it, I hope my people will do the same."

"Your lord regent is a clever man. If the Horde treads down a path that diverges from that of the Nightborne, chances are the same will hold true for the Sin'dorei as well. Maybe someday soon the children of the Night— and Sunwell will both find themselves standing closer together than ever before. Sounds strangely poetic, doesn't it?"

"No," Liadrin said. She turned to Thalyssra and smiled. "Sounds like destiny."

Last edited by Immion; 10-11-2018 at 12:28 PM..
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:14 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Great imagery in this opening. You really have a talent for this.

While I'm not going to quibble about punctuation, I should point out a few spots where it seems like there were verb tenses that didn't translate.
  • "Thalyssra's face was filled with concern" as "she looked around"
  • "Curious. So you say"
  • "those who once upon a time were my people."
  • "The nod she gave Thalyssra was"
  • "she would probably be watching the burning tree by herself"
On the whole, though, this is beautiful. Great example of how to explore characters without action.
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:23 PM
Immion Immion is offline

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Glad to hear you found it enjoyable! Especially because of the "no action" aspect of the story. I struggled very much with this while writing this. Many ideas like that play out beautifully in my head when first conceived, but once I get down to writing them, I notice how easily I fall into the "talking heads" kind of writing, which leaves me pretty anxious about boring the reader. Having a story dealing with established characters certainly helps, but it still feels uncomfortable, as much as I want to give these two the opportunity to talk.

Currently writing on a piece focusing on two shaman on both sides during the burning on Teldrassil that suffers from the same problem, I think. I am kind of looking forward to finishing that and starting on my take on how the whole tyranny of the light questline comes about. That one is certainly not going to be lacking in the action department.

You language remarks are - as always - helpful and spot on. I don't feel like all of them are necessarily big deals, but comparing the two versions, yours usually ends up sounding a lot better. So thanks a lot .
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:32 PM
Ethenil Ethenil is offline

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I really enjoyed this, and the people I shared it with did as well. I wish this would become canon!
Daelin was right.
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Old Yesterday, 07:17 AM
Immion Immion is offline

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Thank you for your kind words and for showing this to potentially interested parties! Glad to hear you could enjoy my portrayal of the two .
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