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And from the ashes...
#1
...A new man rises.

~Prison's where I've always needed to be~

It all started when he was beginning to lose sanity. Losing his will to live any longer. The torment of his betrayal weighed heavily on his shoulders. Who is this 'he'? You may ask. Well, 'he' is Vitaly Zaitsev. Why is he losing will to live and going insane? He screwed up. Big time. His wife had left him, and his sub-conscience was in a struggle between Epsilon, his one true love, and Rebecca, his long-time friend, and co-worker. He loved them both, but everytime he leaned one way, something happened and he would screw up again.

Anyways, it all begins with his losing his grip on sanity. He was at the tavern he owns, over in the Park District. His head was on the table, his arms trembling. He reached into his leather pouch, held tight on a cord around his waist, pulling out a small silver pill. He popped it into his mouth, allowing it's effects to calm him down. But that wasn't meant to last, as Rebecca sat down in front of him,

"Something wrong Vitty?"

Vitaly would raise his head slowly, glance at the woman he wouldn't hurt for the world. He sighs, the trembling of his arms dying down. He rises out of his chair, beckoning Rebecca to follow,

"I..I need to talk to you about something, dear."

Rebecca would follow him into the kitchen, looking at him with confusion in her eyes. He looked into her eyes for a brief moment before lowering his gaze to her feet. He spoke in almost a pitiful voice,

"Becca, I need to go to Shattrath.. I'll need you to watch the tavern while I'm away, as I'm turning myself in to the Guards.."

"Wh--What did you do?"

"I did some bad things when I was there last time..But it was long ago...And I needed money...I.I need to redeem myself so the families of those I killed know they are safe.."

Rebecca, would look Vitaly in the eye, tears forming quickly. She slapped him across the face, before turning around and leaving the tavern. Vitaly would look down in shame, sighing before following her out. He ran out just in time to see her running towards the center, tears falling. He whistled loudly, his zhevra running to him from a nearby knoll, and he jumped on, heading for the front gate. He called for her from atop his zhevra, never stopping the gallop.

Finally he saw her on her brown horse at the gate, and trotted towards her before she broke into a run. Vitaly didn't want to abandon Rebecca...not until she knew he was sorry. He chased Rebecca all the way to Redridge, where he galloped over the bridge leading to Lakeshire. He let his zhevra roam it's way to the stables before asking every Guard around if they saw a cute blonde girl running somewhere. They all pointed to a slumped over, crying figure on the docks. It was raining, and Vitaly's white shirt was now see-through, his runic tattoo visible with the name Epsilon across his chest. He walked over to Rebecca's side, dropping his shirt on the ground and lying down next to her, panting like a worked mule.

"Becca...Please listen.. I am sorry..sorry about your parents and what happened to them...my parents were also killed by bandits...but that's not why I'm he-" He was cut off by Rebecca yelling at him.

"Why'd you follow me!? I don't want to see you! Just leave me alone!"

Vitaly sat up, staring at the water, ashamed of himself. Not just for hurting Becca...but for losing a good friend. He would glance over as she stood up, heading for the inn. He looked to the water, tears forming in his eyes, before also rising, bringing his soaked shirt with him.

In the town's inn, he placed his shirt by the fire to dry, pulling out a small piece of parchment and a pen. He began to write,
Becca,

I am very sorry for doing what I have done in the past, and am even more sorry for what happened to your parents. I'd like to say that my parents also died because of bandits. I can't believe I just lost a friend in you all because of my stupid jobs long ago.
I am very sorry, and hope you will accept this apology before I am killed.
I don't know how to say this to you in person so, Goodbye, I guess. You probably never want to see me again, but I hope you at least visit my grave.

Vitaly


Along with the letter, he left his family ring wrapped inside. He leaves Lakeshire, travelling to Stormwind, where his tavern is dark and deserted. He leaves the note with ring in the kitchen where Becca is sure to find it. He then grabs his old robe and hood, donning them as he makes his way outside into the rain, calling his old Black Horse out of the darkness. He hops on and heads for the mage sector, where he gets teleported to Shattrath by a mage he trusted with old tasks.

In Shattrath, Vitaly remains cloaked and hidden the entire time. He heads off for the infirmary, taking care to hide his face from any Guards, as there are posters of him all around the Holy City. Up in the infirmary, he sits on an un-used pillow, and starts drawing in his notebook. There are two draenei on a bed on front of him, both of whom Vitaly knows. Nexariel and Talesta are lying on the bed, hugging each other, both in deep sleep. To his left is a draenei, seemingly disgusted with the infirmary's condition of cleanliness. After a few conversations between the draenei, Vitaly drops his notebook and pen, walking over to Nexariel. He hands her a drawing of her and Allira that he drew some time ago in the Park District. After some time speaking with Vitaly, Nexi tells him to head to the nearest Guard and turn himself in. He sighs, heading out of the infirmary, until he notices Svelia walk inside. He walks up to her, explains why he's in the city, even though he was banished, and she replies,

"Head to the Guard's in the central area...they'll take care of the official arrest."


Vitaly simply nodded to her, walking towards the center plaza. He paused inside to calm down, but then heard a familiar, female voice.

"Excuse me sir..Are you Vitaly?"

"No..Go away." The Draenei Guard replied to her.

"Oh.Sorry..I am looking for Vitaly...He sent me this letter.."

Vitaly spins around to see Epsilon, his wife, going around, right past him, asking random draenei if they were him. He runs to her, tears forming in his eyes,

"Epsilon! Light how I missed you! What're you doing?"

"Are you Vitaly? I am looking for Vitaly, to thank him for gold object."

Vitaly breaks into tears, "Light, what have I done!? I screw up and now she can't even remember me!"

Epsilon blinks, tilting her head, suddenly changing personality it seems, "Why is Vitaly crying? Is husband Vitaly back?"

Vitaly blinks at Eppy, as it seems her old self is gradually returning. He slaps her cheek, trying to "wake her up" and succeeds in breaking her free of the robotic speech, instead letting her fight that "inner voice".

"Yes, Epsilon..Vitaly is back for you...Please just never leave me..." He starts crying on her shoulder, digging his face into the nook of her neck.

"Vitaly..I..missed you...Are you..really back? Will you...stay with me?"Epsilon starts to show sign of crying, hugging Vitaly tightly. Vitaly remains in this embrace, before withdrawing and explaining to epsilon what he must do, and why. Epsilon nods to him, and he kisses her on the lips. Passionately. The warmth of his body, against her, caught in a tight embrace that would make the Old Gods cry.

"Wait for me in Stormwind, love..I'll be back a changed man. I promise."

"Of course..I'll wait for you in Stormwind...Come back safe..."

And with that, Vitaly turns himself in to the Shattrath Guards, dropping all his weaponry before being dragged away to the prison. He was stripped of all armor he once had, confined in the jail cell with only paper, charcoal, and some old, raggedy clothes.
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#2
~How it all Really Went Down~

Vitaly never actually turned himself in to the Shattrath Guards. What was previously stated was going through his mind as he was entering the Holy City, after leaving the note for Rebecca, of course. He did see his wife though, going through the same process to awaken her from her paranoid stupor as before.

His visit wouldn't last long though, as he stumbled upon a family, in tears of grief. They were crying about the death of their son, whom Vitaly recognized as his last victim before fleeing arrest. He felt his stomach drop, regret forming in his conscience. He needed to think, so he paid the gryphon-keeper to take him to Allerian Hold.

At Allerian, Vitaly wandered the streets, hood still covering his face. He was paranoid, as he saw posters of him everywhere. On the walls of the buildings, inside those buildings, on trees, on hitched wagons. Vitaly's head was spinning. He had to turn himself in, and repent for his crimes.

Just as he built up the courage to take a gryphon back to Shattrath to turn himself in, a Guard stopped him, pulling Vitaly's hood down, exposing his face. Vitaly froze in fright, staring up at the elven Guard. She looked down at Vitaly, and growled lowly,

"You are the most sly bastard we ever had to find. What do you have to say for yourself?"

Vitaly looked up at the elf, looking deep into her eyes. His eyes filled with tears of regret, and he ripped off a nearby poster,

"I am not proud of what I once was...But I'm here to confess to my crimes."

The elf blinked, not believing what she just heard. Was this human really giving himself up? Did he seriously just turn himself in of his own accord?
She grunted, lifting Vitaly to drag him to a holding cell below the city. To her surprise, Vitaly walked without resisting, even leading the way sometimes. She thought to herself,

"Gotta admit. This human's one crazy bastard...But he's kinda cute when he's heading to jail."

She smirks to herself, taking Vitaly to an empty holding cell, and making him strip himself of all armor and weaponry. He was given a ragged tank top, and a pair of shorts, and allowed to bring paper and charcoal with him to occupy time.

Vitaly would sit in the corner and draw on the paper he had with him, drawing figures of Epsilon, Rebecca, and even Talesta. He started praying to the Light, which the Guards found strange, as they knew he wasn't a Priest or Paladin. He would spend several days within this cell, while the Allerian's negotiated with Shattrath over custody of Vitaly, as well as his trial.

His wife, Epsilon came in on three individual days, bringing mangoes and love for Vitaly, comforting him in these hard times. Talesta came twice, once by herself, and once with Epsilon. The day after the two women left his cell, Vitaly was met by an unexpected visitor. And from that meeting, his life would change forever.
~The Unexpected Visitor~

Vitaly was in his corner, drawing a picture, with his arms resting on the crate, when heavy hooves fell in the corridor. Vitaly turned, but then returned to his former position, as he was used to Draenei near his cell, watching him.

"You are Vitaly?"

Vitaly turns at the voice, noticing a very large Draenei standing at the bars. He walks over to the bars, looking up at the draenei,
"Yes.. Who are you?"

"From what I've heard, quite possibly your last visitor."

Vitaly blinks, glancing down at his feet before looking back up,
"Do you know something about the trial they haven't told me?"

"No." Came the gruff reply.

"Then..Why would you be my last visitor?"

The draenei would seem cold and emotionless to Vitaly, as he grunts and replies,
"A request... You seek penance do you not?"

Vitaly nods, looking up at the tendril-covered face,
"I do. I want to be cleansed of all my sins..I'd do anything to repent."

"I was not told of your crimes human...Now you shall tell me."

Vitaly sighs, looking up at Telah's face,
"I murdered three denizens of the Lower City for contracts. I stole multiple times from vendors in Lower City of Shattrath, and resisted arrest on multiple occasions. I also escaped arrest once and fled to Booty Bay."

The Draenei, who had not yet introduced himself, holds a piercing gaze on Vitaly. He sighs lowly, before responding,
"If you do not get banished, zen what?"

"I would go first to all the families I have harmed with my deeds, apologizing and compensating them in any way possible. I'd also repay any vendors I stole from, and then go to an anchorite or high priest to pray for forgiveness. I would also stop doing my old jobs, focusing instead on studying the Light."

The Draenei shakes his head once at the human.
"Zat is ze past. What will you do for ze future?"

Vitaly blinks at the Draenei,
"I'd study the Light. Focus on helping those in need, and stop doing bad deeds. I promised that I would change...and so I will keep that promise."

"A promise? An oaz perhaps?"

"Yes...an oath."

The Draenei nods at Vitaly,
"So from zis moment on, your life whatever happens wizin, will be for ze Light alone?"

"Yes. I swear I will live my life devoted to the Light."

"Even if zat future could mean forsaking everyzing making you ze human you are at zis very moment?"

"....Yes..Even if my current life is forsaken, I will live devoted to the Light."

The Draenei holds out a hand between the bars, towards Vitaly with its palm facing up. The faint outline of some kind of rune glow above it.
"Listen, human."

Vitaly nods, looking at the rune glowing before looking back up.
"You stand upon ze edge of change, from zis moment on your life can lead onto a paz of enlightenment but also hardship."

Vitaly nods, remaining silent.

"In my hand is a glyph of my kind, a symbol sacred to us. Touch it and you will be bound to zis oaz of change you have taken upon yourself. Turn away and I will leave you to face ze auzority of Shattraz."

Vitaly looks down at the Draenei's palm, looking at the glowing rune. He lifts a hand, moving it forward over the rune. He gently touches the rune, wondering what's going to happen.

The Draenei nods as the hand of the human moves onto his own, the rune fading at moment they touch.
"I am Anchorite Telah."

Vitaly blinks at the fading rune, looking up to Telah's face,
"Vitaly Zaitsev."

Telah smiles, showing his first hint of emotion towards Vitaly, before turning and beignning to walk away slowly. He pauses once to say to Vitaly,
"Pray zis night Vitaly, for it might be your last prayer."

Vitaly nods to Telah, returning to his crate in the corner, and kneeling, beginning to mutter a prayer to the Light, and to the Na'aru.
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#3
~The Day of Reckoning~

It was a solemn day on the Aldor Rise. Yet, the temporary court room was bustling with activity. Talesta was leaning on the wall, looking bored as ever, with several others waiting around the end of the bridge, leading to the court room. The judge, an arrogant draenei anchorite named Athaab, was speaking with several other anchorites and peacekeepers. Vitaly was standing up straight, close enough for the guards to hear commands, but far enough for Vitaly to not be seen. Chains dangled from his wrists and ankles, clattering on the ground as the guards shoved him around.

Athaab speaks in draenei, clearing his throat as he heads for his place, "Bring the perpetrator!"

Vitaly walks down the walkway, a guard on either side of him. He seems to be...surprisingly happy. Another guard is behind him, with chains dragging along by Vit's legs and arms. Rebecca and Lenna eye Vitaly. Rebecca sighs lightly, looking down, and Lenna simply stares in fear. Talesta locks her eyes on Vitaly, looking tired, but if one were to take a clsoer look, they'd see sadness in them.

Vitaly continues down the aisle to Athaab's feet, where he is forced to a kneel by his guards, Athaab watching Vitaly carefully. Upon his entrance, the visitor's outside step into the room, taking a seat wherever they could find one.

"Due to ze racial identity of ze one facing judgement, zis session will be held in ze 'common' tongue. We meet zis day to decide ze fate of Vitaly Zaits--" He struggles with the last name, "Zaetzev" He points down to Vitaly.

"This human has committed a series of crimes; larceny of the poor of Lower City, escaping and ignoring the peacekeepers of this city and committing three murders in change for currency.
All of these crimes, which -he- has confessed to upon capture near the Allerian Stronghold. Human Zaetzev. What do you have to say to this congregation?"


As Vitaly processes this, and begins to think of what to say, Telah walks into the room, accidentally bumping a guard,
"Pardon me."
Athaab glares at Telah as he enters, returning his gaze to Vitaly as the human speaks,
"I confess to committing all the crimes charged against me."

"Can you offer any justification of your actions to those assembled here?"


As Vitaly speaks, Telah looks at him with determination, and a hint of pity,
"No...Not anymore. I did it for the money... And I regret doing it."

Athaab nods at Vitaly, giving off a light smirk,
"Then it is decided that you shall face the punishment of banishment, one of our magi will teleport you into the wilds of Hellfire Peninsula. And should you return the consequenses will be harsh."

Vitaly nods to Athaab, "Very well. I accept your punishment, and you will never hear from me again unless it is something good." He stands up and stares Athaab in the eye, "I vow to follow the Light and return one day a new man."

Athaab lifts his gaze, now looking over the room, slowly shifting a glare among everyone present. "If there is anything the presence wish to say before the punishment is executed, do so now." Athaab just seems to ignore Vitaly's comment.

Talesta seems like she's about to say something, but shakes her head and lets off a silent sigh instead. Tabby looks down, offering no words. Vitaly sighs, still facing Athaab. Telah takes a deep breath before rising.

"Hold zis trial."

Athaab shifts his glare to Telah, speaking sternly, "Anchorite Telah."

Several people in the room turn to face Telah, Vitaly's face filling with gratitude and happiness, before being forced back into a kneel by one of his guards.

"Zis human show a deep regret toward his actions. Understanding ze effects of crimes he now show remorse and wish to devote himself to a live devoted to ze Light."

Rebecca turns her head to look at Telah. Tabby brings a hand up to her face, rubbing her forehead. Talesta can't help but chuckle silently, covering it up with a cough almost immediately.

Athaab retaliates, "Regrets do not make their deaths undone."

Suddenly, an elf who was quietly sitting on a bench in front of Telah, speaks up, "Your honour I'd like to make an addendum."

Telah continues speaking, but is ignored by Athaab, who turns to the elf, "Go on."

"You're making a complete waste of a perfectly healthy man, would it not make more sense to put him to use as redemption instead of sending him to the middle of nowhere to die?"
"I move that he be put in service of the people he wronged."


Telah lost momentum for a bit, but then looks down at the elf, smiling,
"Ze elf is right. Vitaly can prove of greater effect and aid to us if allowed to redeem himself."

Athaab glances to both sides at the other anchorites assembled, all six whispering among themselves. He grits his teeth and takes a stomp towards Vitaly.
"But his crimes, who will suffer judgement for those?"

Telah replies sternly, "Instead of suffer, offer ze human a chance to help. We have all been taught of ze same values. Deaz is ze exact opposite of survival, and -we- are struggling to survive."

Athaab starts to show signs of nervousness as the other anchorites nod in agreement with Telah. Droplets of sweat fall onto the stone floor.
"He -is- a dangerous alien! What if we allow him around and he steals the life of one of our precious young?!"

The elf speaks up again, seeming completely serious, "Objection, he's not an Arakkoa."

Telah smiles at the elf, before looking back up, "I take it upon me to guide zis human, slightest misstake on his part and I will personally bring him back to ze Dwelling for ze punishment decided."

Athaab becomes angry, grinding his teeth. "[Draenei] Fellow anchorites?"

The anchorite closest to Athaab, speaks up after discussing with the rest, "We all agree to give this short lived one a chance on anchorite Telah's conditions."

Athaab stares down at Vitaly, shaking his head slowly, "This.. this is a day of shame for us draenei."

Athaab turn away from the assembly, one hand clenching and unclenching so hard that the strain of the cloth can be heard through the chamber.

A peacekeeper steps forward, looking down at Vitaly,
"Trial of Vitaly Zai-.. Zaetzev suspended. You are free to leave in the company of the anchorite defending you."

Vitaly glances up to the Guard, rising slowly. He bows to them, turning to Telah. He begins to walk toward him with a slight smile on his face.

Vitaly looks up at Telah, "Thank you..Anchorite Telah."

"You prayed as I told you, did you not?"


Vitaly nods to Telah, "I did indeed."

Now begin your true journey. Telah looks around the room briefly. "Take ze chance and speak wiz your visitors."

Talesta sighs silently, getting up from her seat and walking by Vitaly. "Good luck, Vit..." she says simply, heading out shortly after. Vitaly turns to Talesta, only to see her leave. His smile fades, watching the draenei walk off.

Rebecca rises out of her seat, sighing and leaving the room without a word. Tabitha simply stands there, looking at Vitaly with a smile on her lips, Lenna standing behind her against the wall.

Telah motions for Vitaly to go to the other humans. "Go on, zis will be ze last of your kin you will meet in some time."

"Light-weight? You came to see my trial?"

Tabitha bites her lip for a moment, her hands twicting, before opening her arms a tiny bit, obviously wanting some sort of embrace. "Of course..."

Vitaly smiles, giving her a warm hug. Tabitha returns the hug, smiling, "Thank you.."

As Vitaly and Tabitha are hugging, Athaab turns from his spot on the rise, striding towards Telah with a look that would make cornstalks wither and die. The witty elf looks at Athaab with a look of amusement.

"What're you thanking me for?" Vitaly grins, looking over Tabitha's face.

Tabitha shivers, "I was afraid I was going to lose you.." She quickly gives a weak smile, "Then I'd be out a job.. Eh?"

Vitaly shakes his head, "Epsilon and Becca...they'd run the tavern." Vitaly sighs as he says Becca, smiling at Tabby and giving her another tight hug.

Tabby shrugs, "I still would have missed you.."

"Well.. I'm going to be off.. I'm glad you're okay.."


Vitaly nods to Tabby, backing up slightly, "And I'm glad you're still working the bar." He chuckles, before turning to Lenna.

Vitaly smiles at Lenna, "Hey Lenna.."
Lenna blinks her eyes at the apparent murderer, watching him intently and quietly.

Lenna nods up at him. "Y-...Yes."

As the two are speaking, Athaab glares at Telah, speaking in Draenei,
"You walk a silk's width, anchorite."

The elf grins at Athaab, "You sound mad." He grins at the draenei.

Vitaly stretches his arms out slightly, "With Becca?"

Lenna nods at Vitaly, staring at his arms from a distance. "Yes."

Athaab continues, "Know that this short-lived ape will be the end of your life in service of the Naaru!"

Telah backs away from the angry and screaming draenei.

The elf looks up at Telah, "He sounds really mad, can I hit him?"

Telah replies in calm draenei, "I have faith, in the Light and in this -human-. Something I think you lost centuries ago, anchorite."

Athaab snorts at Telah, striding away as Vitaly waves to Lenna, walking back to Telah, Lenna scampering out of the room.

"I am ready, Anchorite Telah."Vitaly smiles up at Telah's face, before turning to the elf, "And thank you elf."

"The name's Sizkiel.. and I didn't do it for you.. I just wanted to piss off the big mean guy."
He smiles, letting off a slight chuckle.

The trio head off for the infirmary, Sizkiel turning to Vitaly on the way, "So..What did you do?"

"I murdered three people, and stole from vendors."


Sizkiel snorts, "That's nothing...I can do -way- better."

They chuckle a bit, following Telah to the infirmary. When they arrive, it is full of people. Nexariel is sitting on a cot. Talesta is sitting on a bed with some big draenei poking her. Vitaly sighs, sitting on the floor in front of Nexariel,
"You don't mind if I sit here, do you, Nexariel?"

"Of course not."
She gives him a warm smile, before turning around and jumping at her sister, Allira, giving her a hug. They talk about something in draenei, and Telah goes off to the back to get Vitaly some normal clothing. He brings back a slightly old, raggedy robe, which Vitaly dons happily. The big draenei, Ulsarius, offers Telah cake, and Telah shakes his head, pointing to Vitaly,
"This human just got out of banishment..May he have some cake?" He speaks in Draenei, smiling.

Ulsarius nods, watching Vitaly as the human takes a small slice of cake, taking a bite. He smiles, finishing the slice quickly,
"That was delicious! Did you make it?" He asks Ulsarius.

The big draenei walks over to Vitaly, reaching a hand out to shake,
"I did..Name's Ulsarius."

"Vitaly Zaitsev. Nice to meet you."


Telah discusses what he'll be doing with Vitaly for a while, before turning to Vitaly, "I need to go prepare for our trip...Meet me in the tents below when you are ready to begin your new life." He bows to Vitaly, leaving the infirmary.

After getting his notebook back, which he accidentally left in the infirmary when he left the city, he said goodbye to the draenei, heading downstairs to begin his new adventure...his new life.
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#4
~The Journey~

Vitaly Zaitsev, what a poor sap. The image of his dearly beloved wife couldn't leave his mind. What if she hated him? What if, upon his return, she would be with another man? What if..? He couldn't stop creating these questions. These worries. But he had to concentrate. Anchorite Telah told him to stay at their camp near Telredor, gather herbs, and pray. Pray like never before. The large draenei had left a note for the pathetic excuse for a human. It simply stated the following:

"Vitaly,
Search for your inner spirit. Be true to yourself. And once I return, your life shall start anew."


Vitaly spent hours upon hours pondering the meaning of the note. So far all he got was: Pray, be honest, and then something about starting again.

He sighed heavily, closing his eyes to start meditation. But, as he began murmuring prayers to the Light and to the Na'aru, Epsilon's image came up in his mind again. He was told to temporarily forget about her. It would help with the process, Telah said.

Tears began to fall from Vitaly's eyes, and his hands dropped from their former stance, his right landing on a pile of herbs he picked earlier. He looks down, picking up the herbs and sighing, stuffing a few into a small wooden pipe he had fashioned before. He lights them, taking a deep drag from the burning leaves, and exhaling the smoke into a bluish cloud of smoke above him.

Almost instantly, the fadeleaf took hold of Vitaly, his mind tricking him with visions. He opens his eyes and looks toward Telredor, not too far away, and then looks down, only to see the form of his beloved wife, Epsilon, take shape before his very eyes. He reached forward, only for the shape to laugh in his face and dissipate in a puff of dust and smoke.

It was mocking him. He looked around frantically, seeing tons of these shadowy forms of his wife, all coming towards him and cackling maniacally. They all brandished Epsilon's lance, one which Vitaly was all too familiar with. He panicked, falling into a pleading stance on his knees, begging these shadows for forgiveness and promising that he'll be home soon. They all laughed and disappeared, leaving the poor man alone, several yards away from his encampment.

He sobbed uncontrollably, venturing to his campfire and sitting in front of it. He sighed, closing his eyes and murmuring prayers of Light. For the first time in weeks, almost two months now, Vitaly's hands began to glow a very dull yellow. He didn't know this, but the tendrils of Light coiled around him slowly, enveloping him in it's power as he continued praying.

As he completed a long prayer, the Light dissipated, just as the shadows had done. Vitaly looked around, not realizing what just happened. He looks up at the sky and eyes the Outland sky, sighing and breathing out softly,

"Soon love...Soon..."
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#5
~The Faithful Day~

Telah had been gone a while with a group he called, "The Draenic Pilgrimage". Vitaly knew nothing of them, except for the fact that Nexariel, Telah, Allira, and Talesta were part of it, and that they had taken up residence in Telredor.

Vitaly had almost lost sanity to that image he kept seeing. His wife, a dark, shadowy killing machine. Manufactured by the Scourge, who Vitaly didn't care to join the war against. He felt horrible. The thoughts of possibly meeting her during life, saving her from the Scourge, falling in love and not being teased and yelled at for being a heretic. All these thoughts raced through the poor human's mind until a glowcap hit him in the head. He blinked, turning around and eyeing a silhouetted shape nearby. It was a female's voice, speaking to him softly, almost teasingly,

"Vitaly, come here.~ Come show me, that you have changed.~ Oh, please Vitaly.~ I want to see it.~"

The shape suddenly vanished, reappearing behind Vitaly again, this time closer to him. He could smell glowcap and fadeleaf. He could see the tendrils flowing from the hood. Vitaly thinks,

"A..Draenei? Why would a Draenei do this? Unless... A test! Of course! Anchorite Telah would never let up an opportunity like this."

The voice grew more soothing. Softer, more relaxing to Vitaly's ears. His eyes began to close, stopping halfway, as if drugged. The hooded female walked up to him, almost touching his body. She leaned her face towards his left ear, breathing onto it slowly before whispering to him,

"Show me the path.~ The path to enlightenment. Teach me... how to love...Vitaly.~"

Vitaly, trying ever so hard to resist his former urges, backs up and hakes his head, but he dare not touch her, lest he can't overcome the pull. It felt like he was on a string. A very tight string, pulling him closer to the Draenei, urging him on with lust-filled thoughts.

Suddenly, he heard a splash of water. The figure of the Draenei woman dissappeared, leaving Vitaly alone, with no fire lit. He quickly lit a fire with a flint and a small steel dagger he was allowed to take, and rises. He holds his hands out before him, allowing Light to form a sort of lantern to guide him towards the lake, from which he heard the splash.

He emerges from the thicket to come across a bleeding body of an Orc. This Orc has shamanistic beads and dress on, with a wound pouring blood from his chest. The Orc is fairly large, but as he is floating, Vitaly easily pulls him onto the bank and flips him over to inspect his chest. He is peering at the open wound when the Orc wakes up,

"Hu-human? I mean no harm, honest."

Vitaly smiles down at the Orc, nodding,

"Do not worry Orc. I am not one to harm an injured one. Even if they are part of a group that my group seems to hate."

He chuckles, dressing the wound and healing it with what healing powers he had learned already. The Orc sits up, scooting backwards to lean on a mushroom stalk, smiling to Vitaly.

"The name..is Grok'Thaz. I am forever grateful for your healing, Mister--?"

"Vitaly Zaitsev. And it is fine Grok'Thaz. You owe me nothing. I am merely learning to be a priest, vowing to never return to my old ways, and it is my duty to assist those in need."


Grok'Thaz looks into Vitaly's eyes before nodding,

"I see your intentions are honest. Mine as well, but I suppose some Draenei aren't as friendly as the few I know."

Vitaly nods slowly, before reaching into a small pouch on his belt, pulling out a small notebook titled, "Writings of a Poet". Grok'Thaz would eye the book, before smiling and rising, bowing to Vitaly,

"Thank you for your kind services, Vitaly Zaitsev. I hope we may meet again some day, and when we are in no danger."

He smiles, backing away before going into his Spirit Wolf form and running off, going South towards Nagrand. Vitaly would nod to the Orc before he left, smiling back and watching him run off. He would rise as well, walking back to his campfire, where he would begin writing various prayers in his notebook, eyeing, and repeating, the Four Tenets he was taught over and over again.

He would remain at the camp for many days, during which he fished, hunted, prayed, and slept, never straying too far from the campsite. He kept having reoccurring visions due to the herbs he would smoke, but he continued using them as they helped train his endurance to the unknown, as well as torture of the mind and soul.

Then, on a day when Vitaly needed a new fishing rod, he ventured to Telredor. Unknowingly, he picked just the right time to venture there, as he would see many familiar faces...

To Be Continued....
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#6
~Bait and Tackle~

Vitaly had been fishing using the same old fishing pole for quite some time now, and on this day, just south of Telredor, the line and pole snapped. Shattered into bits by a large fish he had been trying to catch. He tried to fashion a new one out of durable wood he had found, but to no avail, the pole breaking every time he tried to rig a line and spool.

After several hours of back-breaking labor trying to make a new one, he decided to trade for a new one, as he also needed some bait. So, he chose this opportunity to venture to Telredor, robed and masked in white, and ascended the elevator to the rise.

Upon reaching the top, he stepped off the elevator, walking slowly into the city, down the stairs to the right, looking around with interest, as he had never actually been in the city.

As he stepped off the staircase he heard voices, turning to find Nexariel, Allira, and Talesta on a bench nearby. He knew he was well hidden, and proceeded to simply watch them while he asked around for a new fishing pole and bait. As he walked around the circular fountain, he noticed a female draenei on the ledge, crying. He walked up to her, having never met her before, and lightly tapped her shoulder.

"Wh-what?"

The draenei asked in a pitiful voice, choked with tears. Vitaly removed his mask and hood, offering her a warm smile before speaking.

"What is wrong? I couldn't help but notice your crying, and was wondering if I could help in any way."

"Wh-who are y-you?"


Vitaly bowed to her, replying with a slight smile on his face.

"Vitaly Zaitsev. And you?"

The draenei whimpered before replying, her voice low and sad.

"K-Kassuu."

Vitaly nods, sitting down on the ledge next to her, keeping an eye on the other draenei. He places a hand on her back, lightly rubbing up and down to try and calm her down, before speaking once again.

"What bothers your soul, Kassuu?"

Kassuu would look at Vitaly for a moment before bursting into a light fit of tears, dropping her head onto his shoulder, hugging him for support. Vitaly frowns, returning the hug and petting her head lightly.

"It's all right Kassuu....Just tell me what's wrong...and I'll fix it right..."

Kassuu finally calms down, looking up into Vitaly's eyes and peering into them. She nods once, speaking lowly, but enough for Vitaly to hear her.

"I'm..worried about...my mate....I..I just don't know....How it'll work out...."

Vitaly nods, keeping an arm around Kassuu to comfort her. He looks at her tear-streaked face, wiping some tears away with his hand, rough from labor and months of training. Kassuu allows this, and continues on with her reason for sadness.

"She..Talesta.... Told me she loves...me....and I love her....but I...I'm not sure what would happen...if I suddenly left.... I'm worried..."

Vitaly would blink, leaning slightly to glance at Talesta sitting at the bench with Nexariel and Allira, the three chatting happily, not knowing at all that Kassuu and Vitaly were talking, hidden by the fountain. He swallows some saliva, realizing he is currently comforting Talesta's mate. He disregards the notion of Talesta killing him, and nods to Kassuu.

"Do not worry Kassuu. Talesta is a wonderful friend...You are lucky to have her as mate... What I suggest, is that you tell her you will be gone for some time, and not to worry about you. That way, when you return, you'll both be very well off, and happy."

Kassuu would look up at Vitaly, staring at his face before nodding, smiling at him for the first time. She would hug him tightly, before leaning up and giving him a light kiss on his forehead, a sign of friendship. Vitaly would lightly blush at this, but would simply hug her back and smile at her, pulling his hood and mask back up.

"Farewell Kassuu...and may the Light be with you."

Kassuu would smile, standing up from her position at the ledge and would walk around the fountain, heading for the small group of draenei. Vitaly watched as the three greeted Kassuu warmly, and shed a single tear as he saw Kassuu and Talesta kiss, the act alone bringing back memories from before this ordeal.

He would shake his head to clear his thoughts, heading for a nearby merchant, who sold fishing supplies, as well as made staves. Vitaly bought a new fishing pole, some bait, and requested a staff be made for him, which he will pick up later the next day.

He left Telredor with new fishing supplies, a small notice to return the next day at noon to pick up his staff, and a feeling in his heart that he did something good for a change. And coincidentally, he helped a loved one...of a loved one.
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#7
~A Final Test of Faith~

Vitaly has been praying and practicing Light for some time now. Anchorite Telah told him he was doing very well, and was proud of the human for his change. then Telah suddenly went back to his pilgrimage, leaving Vitaly alone for the duration of his next test, which he had started in Vitaly's sleep.

He awoke, sitting up and gazing around. Everything seemed normal...except he was in a building instead of on the ground. Telah had asked several magi to place Vitaly in an illusion to serve as a sort of testing room for Vitaly's last test.

Around him, laying in scattered piles, were bones. Bones of draenei and human alike, scattered around the room covered in cobwebs, with chains on the walls, hanging eerily. Vitaly looked around, mostly in fear, but also in confusion. What was he doing here? Where was Telah? Where was this place? These questions apssed through his mind as a loud clattering could be heard from the dark entrance to the room. The large barred, door opened, a skeletal guard, with fire in it's eyes, walked in, dragging along several draenei prisoner's he held captive. They were all kicking and screaming, crying out in protest, as the guard dropped their chains on the ground, glaring at Vitaly shortly before leaving them all alone, locking the door behind him.

The small group consisted of three draenei women, strangely similar to Talesta, Nexi, and Kassuu, and two draenei men, who looked just like Telah and Athaab. They all looked in a panic, and Vitaly, being the kind soul he is, approached them and asked them what happened and if he could help at all. They told him they were in the Dark Knight's Tower, hidden within Hellfire Peninsula on one of the floating islands of the nether. They were being held captive because they used the Light, and asked Vitaly how he got out of his shackles.

He looked down, realizing he had shackles dangling from his wrists and ankles, but cut somehow. He felt something in his robe, and reached into it, pulling out a dagger, blinking at it. He shrugged, assuming the guard's missed it, and began cutting away at the draenei's shackles, freeing them of their chains in a matter of minutes.

Vitaly would look around at the group, thinking they looked all too similar to the draenei he associated with in Shattrath. He was extremely confused, and was about to ask how to get out, when the door burst open, several guards and a hooded figure walking in. You could feel the dark energy surrounding the hooded figure as he walked in, straight to Vitaly.

Vitaly stood up, almost without thinking, and was about to speak when the hooded figure held a hand up, pulling the hood off, revealing the face of a beautiful young woman, with glowing blue eyes. Her blonde hair tumbled out of the hood, flowing down her shoulders. She looked at Vitaly for a moment, before saying in the typical echoing Death Knight voice,

"Vitaly... You...have to..choose.." She points at the draenei, "Save...them..." She points at Vitaly, moving a hand between herself and him, "Or...this...." The knight would pull the hood back up, turning around and walking out of the room, leaving Vitaly standing there in horror. She looked just like Epsilon, and she had just given him a choice. Save the lives of the draenei beside him, who looked all too familiar, or save his marriage.

The draenei didn't know what connection Vitaly had made, but noticed his horrified expression, getting him to sit down and trying to comfort him. He told them about his life before Shattrath, what he did, and how he loved Epsilon too much to keep lying. He told them about his imprisonment and trial, and of how he had recently been having terrifying visions of Epsilon and himself, of death, and of failing everyone he knew. The group said they understood, and that he didn't have to save them. They told him they had nothing to live for anymore.

Little did he know, these illusions were being played by draenei magi, who were told to try and trick him into doing wrong, but not force him into it.

A few hours passed of silence, during which Vitaly prayed to the Light, and to the Na'aru, and asked for an answer. The door was thrust open yet again, and the hooded figure walked in, brandishing her lance, which glowed with runic power. She slipped off her hood, smiling devilishly at Vitaly. She then asked him in a quiet tone,

"So Vitaly....Who...dies today?" She would cackle, trying to make him lose his temper and end up having the draenei killed.

Vitaly would look at the draenei,

"I'm sorry....." A long pause, with the hooded figure smiling and the draenei looking on in horror, until he finished his sentence, "..But I choose to have myself killed....These draenei deserve to live, and go on with their lives in safety."

The hooded figure would stop smiling, holding a blank expression, before grinnning and vanishing. The illusion would fade, leaving Vitaly looking around in amazement as he found himself back in his campsite in Zangarmarsh, several magi sitting down in front of him, nodding to him in support. On the floor was a note scribbled in crude common, with draenei underneath,

"Congratulations Vitaly Zaitsev,
You have done well in your testing, and have excelled in many aspects. You even went above and beyond your training with extra tests I did not even plan on having.
-Telah"


Vitaly read the note, smiling at the magi, whom he thanked individually, and fed that night, allowing them tor est in the camp until the next day.

And even after this final test, Vitaly remained in Zangarmarsh, watching over anyone in need, making his way South on a personal pilgrimage to a few draenic sacred sites, starting with Auchindon.
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#8
~The Haunted Halls~

Auchindon. A sacred sight to the draenei, yet haunted in all regards by demons, ghosts, spirits, and the like. Torn ruins are scattered across the Bone Wastes of Terrokar Forest, blackened by undeath. Across this dead area of land are the ethereal's, mining the ruins and fighting anyone who dares venture too near; the Orc cultists, taming demons and tainting the land even more, wreaking havoc over the spirits residing in the desecrated tomb.

It just so happens that Vitaly ventured down here first, on his journey to sacred sights to the draenic race. He doesn't even know why he came down here, but he did anyways. He went to the ruins, making his own shelter and camp out of the ruins and pillars left standing. He avoided the ethereals and orc cultists at all costs, and eventually made it to the main entrance to Auchindon's interior.

He ventured inside, and made his way down the hallways until he came upon a vast room, lined on the walls by altar's, and spirits of draenei walking down the length of the room and praying at the altars. Vitaly stepped into the room, and almost immediately several spirits turned to him with unwelcoming eyes. One of the wandering ghosts walked up to Vitaly, forcing him to walk into the hallway. A priestess by the looks of her dress.

She stared at Vitaly a while before speaking in draenic, making simple sentences directed at the human. "Why have you come here, human? You are not particularly welcome here."

Vitaly would bow to the priestess, holding a hand out and forming a small ball of Light in his palm, holding it out for the priestess to take. He speaks in draenic, though it's broken and not perfect, of course. "I have come to pay homage to the people I have learned from. I have come in a pilgrimage of my own, to pay my respects."

The priestess would blink, taking the ball of Light and watching it glimmer in her hand, before smiling slightly and nodding to Vitaly, allowing him inside and staying close to him to avoid any problems with anyone who may not approve. "I have never seen a human come down here, other than to try and loot the tomb sites. Not many of us here trust anyone, let alone someone who isn't a draenei. Mostly due to the Orc and ethereal raids."

The two would walk down the large room, Vitaly bowing to the spirits in respect, and placing small gems on the altar's and various tomb sites as homage to the dead. At the very end of the room was a arched doorway, leading into the central chamber of Auchindon. The two continued to this doorway, at which point the priestess stopped, and bowed to Vitaly. "I am sorry, human, but this is where I must leave you to venture on alone... May the Light guide you safely through these...haunted halls."

Vitaly would nod, bowing to the spirit before forming a ball of Light in his hand once again, using it as one would use a torch to guide themselves in dark rooms. He walked into the next hallway, venturing quite a while before coming upon the central chamber. In here, there were many spirits of draenei, wandering the dark room in pain and despair. Vitaly could hear the cries and wailing of the dead in this room, the only source of Light in here being Vitaly's ball of Light, and a small torch in the center of the room.

There were a few draenei spirits standing around this torch, watching the restless spirits cry in despair around them, and Vitaly walked to them slowly, careful to avoid any of the restless on his way. As he approached the few raised their staffs and spears, glaring at him until they noticed his robes and ball of Light. They lowered their weapons, but kept their gazes locked on the suddenly appearing human. "What is it you want? Come to loot these poor souls?"

Vitaly replied in draenic, which surprised the draenei. "I have come to pay homage for the dead. Why do these spirits cry while the ones in the previous room pray?"

They look at each other, before turning to Vitaly with grim expressions on their faces. "These souls are lost. They cannot claim their place in any world. Similar to what you humans call purgatory. They cannot leave this world as the others, but they also suffer more so than the others you saw."

Vitaly would nod, then hold his ball of Light to the spirits. "May the Light be with you, and may you all...find yourselves soon."

The draenei spirits would take the small ball, and would bow to Vitaly as he would form another one and walk out of the central chamber, heading back towards the first chamber. There, he would be escorted to the entrance by the priestess from earlier, and would leave the ruins, heading for Nagrand, to the west.
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#9
~The Three Muske-- I mean..Adventurers~

Upon entering Nagrand, Vitaly would first come across a nice, clean lake, around which many talbuk were grazing. The priest, tired from his long journey, took refuge in a small cave in the nearby mountain, taking a nice nap before awakening to the sounds of hooves on rock. He would look up to see a talbuk staring him in the face, though with leather straps hanging down from it's sides. Vitaly follows the talbuk's neck up to the back, only to notice a draenei atop the talbuk. She seemed familiar, though he couldn't put a name to the face. "Morning sunshine."

Vitaly blinks as those almost perfect words in common are uttered, before realizing the draenei is Kassuu, whom he met in Zangarmarsh earlier. "Kassuu! How nice to see you! How are you doing?" As he says this, he pets the talbuk's mane, looking up at Kassuu almost eagerly.

"I am good. Talesta and I have split up, as we have things to do that we can't do having sex all the time." She giggles lightly as she says this, hopping off the talbuk, grabbing Vitaly in a tight embrace. He smiles, returning the hug.

"At least you are happy. How's the rest of the pilgri-- How are Nexariel and Telah?" Vitaly seems almost worried, not hearing from anyone for what seemed like ages. He stares into Kassuu's eyes as she begins to speak.

"They are fine. As are the rest of the members. What brings you to Nagrand, Vitaly?" She messes up Vitaly's already messy hair, smiling at him.

"I was simply wandering this ancient land, hoping to learn more about your culture, as well as the Light. I was simply taking a short nap, looking around at these amazing surroundings." He moves his hand across the air, as if showing Kassuu the whole land.

Kassuu pats her talbuk's rump, allowing it to run off and graze, before whistling loudly. Vitaly frowns in confusion, before smiling widely as he notices his zhevra running towards the two. He grabs onto it's neck, hugging it and petting it, before turning to Kassuu and hugging her tightly, giving her a light kiss on the cheek, "Thank you Kassuu."

The draenei simply smiles, blushing slightly when she receives the kiss, returning it affectionately. The two remain silent for a while, before Vitaly walks outside into the sunlight, stretching his aching limbs and chuckling, "What a beautiful day! Hard to believe what's going on in the world right now can be worse than this."

Kassuu follows the aging man outside, gazing around, before spotting something in the sky, landing on an island. She gets worried at first, since it looked like wyvern, before she noticed the wyvern had no saddle and was adorned, instead, in ornaments of many kinds and sizes. She smiles, walking up to Vitaly and making him look up at the island, "A friend of ours is up there. Care to meet him?" She offers a hand to Vitaly, smiling politely.

Vitaly glances up, noticing the wyvern. He doesn't realize who it would be, but thinks Kassuu is going insane. He goes along for it anyways, and grabs her hand. She whistles loudly, a nether ray flying to the two from some alcove it was hiding in. They hop on the large ray, and it takes them up to the island, where they find a small hut, bonfire, and various totems and ornaments of all sorts. The wyvern eyes them warily before simply sitting down and purring.

Grok'Thaz had been gathering herbs for a new elixir he was working on, when he heard footsteps on his island. He turned around, only to see Kassuu and Vitaly. He smiles, limping towards the two to greet them. In his gritty, deep voice, "Friends! What brings you to my little island up above?"

Kassuu giggles lightly, shoving Vitaly forward lightly to greet the aging orc. Vitaly would stumble slightly, before standing upright again and hugging Grok'Thaz, patting him on the back, "How are you doing Grok? Still limping I see." He motions to his leg, which is bandaged heavily.

"I am doing well. As for the leg, it'll heal over time. How are you doing Vitaly? And you Kassuu?" He motions for the two to enter his hut and sit down in some stools.

Vitaly sits down, smiling before responding, "I am doing fine; merely exploring this ancient land to find out more about cultures and history."

Kassuu takes a seat as well, glancing around the hut before answering, "I am doing well; stumbled across Vitaly down by the nearby lake. Saw your wyvern flying up here and decided to visit." She smiles happily, looking between the orc and human.

Little did they know, their friendship would lead them to greater adventures than they thought.

(To be continued…)

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