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Canon/Noncanon Fun
#1
My new IC thread, made for both canon and noncanon events in roleplay. Whether they're real or not will be noted.



Amongst the Nerubians (Canon)

Spoiler:
It was the second day within Sundered Monolith. Or was it? Without the regular patterns of day and night, Elruimar's sense of time was being sapped away. He sat up against the stone wall of his prison, and waited for what would come.

"Hh'tcht. Makj." The voice just outside the stone spoke in a language of clicks and rasps. The massive piece of wall barricading the entrance was dragged aside, allowing the light to flood in. And the creature silhouetted by the light was another Nerubian; taller than the warriors he'd encountered before. It gave a few further clicks and a gesture to the one outside before approaching the crouched elf.

"Akhan-elf. What is your purpose here?" Its language changed effortlessly to Common. "Why do you carry artifacts of our people?" Elruimar was left staring for a moment. Whatever he had expected of Nerubian Seers, it hadn't involved eloquence. He noticed a cluster of documents on the underside of the Nerubian, pasted there by spider-silk.

"I'm here to return those artifacts to their rightful owners. They were lost many years back when a Nerubian city was captured by the Scourge."

"Where was this elf, to be witnessing this?" There was a hiss to the voice which made his blood run cold. Well, colder anyhow. He stood up. The Nerubian watched each movement with glistening black eyes like polished pebbles in a river.

"They were on the borders of a Nerubian city in the Borean Tundra. I don't know who put them there, but I think they were trying to save them from the invasion."

The Nerubian looked down to the artifacts in the center of the room. They were mostly sculptures carved from vivid red stone - perhaps carnelian - and banded with striations of black and gray. And they ranged in use; from decorative sculptures of some long-forgotten spidery ruler, to a pitcher and plate stamped with symbols on their edges. A valuable cargo indeed. So distinctively Nerubian that Elruimar wondered why the guards hadn't just killed him for the crime of possessing one of their treasures.

When the Nerubian looked at him again, it was with intent. "Do you wish to bargain over them?"

Definitely a trick question. The elf looked away from the myriad twinkling eyes. "No. They belong to your people. But I'd like to ask a favor in return."

"We do not grant favors." The Nerubian began scooping up the artifacts one by one, putting each onto the broad span of its back. It turned and began to walk out.

"Please-"

"You are still alive. Consider that a favor granted. You will be escorted to the borders by a guard. And there, our interest in you ends."

"I want to stay."
There was a long pause.
Elruimar looked past the Nerubian silhouetted in the door.
Beyond it was a sort of cityscape; a massive carved pillar
riddled with holes and passageways. Sundered Monolith.
Nothing compared to what Azjol-Nerub had been once.

He could hear the soft chatter and click of the creatures around him, and see the glowing spider-silk which hung in tendrils from the ceiling and gave them light. It was all beautiful, in a strange sort of way. Refugees of the Scourge - still holding strong. Much like the Blood Elves.

"Why?"

"Because - I want to learn about them. I've heard stories of Azjol-Nerub and what it was once like. I've seen some of it. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen."

"So a Blood-elf finds inspiration in the alien." The Nerubian clicked softly. "And wishes to preserve it. Unfortunately one individual - particularly one of a soft, squeamish race such as the Blood-elves - makes a negligible impact on our situation. There is nothing you can do which we cannot do better."

"I'm not a warrior. I'd never claim to be better than you at defending your people and way of life. But there are some things I'm good at. I'm an artist amongst my own race, and my lifespan is much longer than a Nerubian's. If I could stay here and learn Nerubian arts, then even if the worst happens.. you'll still have someone who remembers some of your traditions, and can pass them on to others. They'll never be forgotten or lost."

"You make an interesting proposition. Yet, this is not enough. We also need proof that you will do us this service, and are not here to simply profit off our knowledge."

"How should I prove that?"

"I will discuss this bargain and your continued presence here with Majis'Tomon. I can give you no answer until then." The Seer took a statuette off its back and gazed at it thoughtfully. "You will remain here for the duration. While you are waiting, you should create a piece of art. The quality of it will determine whether you are worthy of learning from us."

Suddenly, Elruimar was very glad he'd brought his set of paints.
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#2
Amongst the Nerubians (Part II) Canon


Elruimar paints. Like a boss.

Spoiler:
Of course, nothing in his life was easy. Elruimar's paints had frozen over.

"Fire. Please." He kept his voice loud and clear in the hope that the guard Nerubians would understand. Surely they didn't keep all of their kind in the eternal cold. If that was the case, then no wonder they were unpleasant.

He could see one of the pike-wielding guards peek in through the stone crack. At him.

"If you could not live in this cold, you should not have come here. Stupid creature." It moved away with a whisper of chitin against stone.

He'd kept flint and tinder in his bags, but they were the first things to be taken from him. The only thing he still had was paint. And that only because he carried the case under his cloak.

That was it! He took off his cloak, wrapped it around the case, and then put his arms around it to warm the paints. The guards outside watched him with what he imagined to be curiosity.

And he began to wait.

It had to be several hours later by the time the paints were beginning to thaw. He wasted no time in finding a paintbrush for each general shade, and brushing a stone wall clear of cobwebs - why did spiders have a spider problem? - to use as his canvas. It would have to do. He put his first brush to the stone.

The endless caverns of Azjol-Nerub met his mind's eye. The dark, vibrant colors against the blackness; glowing in a way that had nothing to do with light. The angles, obelisks, and symbols which created each 'isle' in the chasm, and the strands of woven silver silk which led the wanderer on to the next. Libraries, administrative offices, centers of commerce, banks.. decorated in precious metals, and set with gems. Idols of each ruler were made of plainer stuff. Had that always been the case? Their rulers were remembered, but it was the knowledge they treasured.

The painting took form beneath his brush. First, the shadowy chasm which built up into the islands and buildings of subterranea. The flawless buildings and islands.

No.
If a Nerubian artist had come to Silvermoon after the Siege and overlooked the city's destruction, it would have been an outrage. It was part of them. It had formed their culture for years now - without the thirst for revenge, there would be no Blood Elves. Without the Scourge, the Nerubian empire would be at the peak of its power.
At its best, it was an attempt to gloss over something vital.

What he painted instead was creation and destruction. The cities of each island were abandoned - empty of Scourge, with only bodies and disarray to tell the story. One oasis of stone and rippling water hung with lights was left with mossy growths and the sort of foulness only dead bodies could produce. The grand marketplace tiered with statues and a pavilion at its head still had crates of old goods left untouched. Towers of bronze and green with many-colored stained glass windows went untended. Bit by bit, the empty feel of a ruined city hung over Azjol-Nerub.

Elruimar paused to stretch - vaguely aware of the guards standing nearby - and continued to work.

-The city wasn't empty. Lights shone in some of the buildings. He worked away at a temple-library, straightening its lines, and brightening it with fresh coats of paint. He could see small signs of life: places where scaffolding had been assembled around worn buildings in preparation for repairs. The embossed glass of a grand hall had been freshly-polished, allowing the light inside. And the lights in the mushroom groves underneath the city grew stronger.
The Nerubian inhabitants had survived.
The Scourge had not.
He painted hope.

"It is above average for someone with only two drawing legs." The guard closest to him said. Elruimar snapped out of it and looked back to the guard.

"Thank you."

"-But it is inaccurate. The city of Azjol-Nerub has two marketplaces, not one. And you have placed the Library of Raz'keeri too distant from the Seer lairs. It is an inefficient placement. Nor are Spiderlings hatched in multiple egg-laying grounds."

Elruimar said nothing for a moment. He turned back to inspect the mural.

Now that his brief love of the piece was over, it was easy to pick out other flaws in technical ability and accuracy of the subject. How had he not noticed them before? The paint had been applied sloppily over the places he'd revised. Bumps in the rock left the subject unpleasantly textured. And he could see one extra lair which made him wince - how could he have given the entrance that shape? And above all, why on Azeroth had he painted a half-ruined kingdom? The aesthetic appreciation of death and rebirth wouldn't translate well to large arachnids.

"I can fix it. Do I still have time?"

"You have been given a lenient amount of time already. Sit and wait for the verdict from Majis'Tomon." The guard left with a rustle of legs. Elruimar sat down against the wall, and gazed sadly at the mural. Why couldn't he have been a little more thoughtful, and less impulsive? This wasn't a fairytale in which races miraculously saw past their differences.

The simple fact was that if he failed this test, he was going to die.

_________________________________________________________________________

The Seer approached the mural and inspected it without a word to the elf. Time seemed to stretch out. To fill the minutes, Elruimar mentally reviewed his ways of getting out - his selection of weapons, and his memory of the tunnels leading to the surface. Both were nil. His pike had been taken from him early on (not like it would be of use anyway), and he hadn't been paying enough attention to memorize the twists and turns.

"How is it?"

"You display very little knowledge of our city's proper layout. The technique is otherwise adequate." A brief pause. Elruimar said nothing. "It would be a waste of resources to kill you."

"Then I've been granted permission to stay?"

"Yes. Provided that you meet or exceed a certain output of work. This time here will also be put up for review. If you are found lacking, we will not hesitate to dispose of you. Understood?"

He was actually starting to feel grateful to the Nerubians for not killing him. Definitely the sign of an arachnophile.

I must be crazy.

"Deal."
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#3
Raid Recruitment: Thani and Laranor are Amused (Canon)
Spoiler:
"Look! I think the Blood Knights are having an event or something." Thani stopped where she was, standing on her tiptoes to peer over the crowd forming on the practice grounds.

"Are Arlyn and Lene there?" Laranor asked. He stopped beside Thani and craned his neck upwards.

The field was far too organized to just be particular people sparring. And as Thani soon noticed, most of them were in some sort of uniform.

"Not unless they started working for a House without us knowing."

"-And they wouldn't do that unless their salary was chocolate, and- oh, what were we talking about again?" Laranor blinked, looking rather perplexed in the direction of the people overseeing the combat. "That looks like the Serynzheri crest..." Thani followed his gaze to the tall blond man in Spellbreaker's garb who was taking notes. It wasn't hard to remember that person, even in uniform..

"It is. That must be Artairis."

Artairis Serynzheri, ruler of House Serynzheri, Spellbreaker, fangirl magnet, and Haver of the Memetic Braid was indeed writing down something about the people he was watching.

"Did I ever tell you about how I met the guy? Arlyn, Lene and I were just doing the usual hero routine - well, all right, we were actually just trying to open a Theru'naaris one afternoon. And what do you know, it was loaded with magic, and Sehinu turned out to be behind the whole thing. Like always. So we just got a Spellbreaker who wasn't on duty - Artairis - to come with us through the portal it made, and into a crazy illusory metaworld. It was fun."

"...I was about to ask?"

Thani did a mental facepalm. She usually felt bad in hindsight about talking all the time and cutting off other peoples' speech. For some Light-blest reason, it was a habit she could never break. Even that time when she'd been testifying as a witness in some legal case..
Thinking about that case never failed to give her the massive semi-evil grin her family was known for.

They watched in (relative) silence as people were pared away from the groups one by one. She could tell the difference between those who'd failed whatever test it was, and those who had succeeded - those who'd passed went to the pavilion overlooking the combat ring, while the others hung around looking somewhat embarrassed.

It was starting to get less interesting when Thani remembered something.

"Hey Laranor. Here." She passed the therapist-elf a small corked bottle. The contents were colorless, but filled with bubbles which rose and broke at the surface in irregular patterns. It was, at the moment, her pride and joy: sugar-cane, a blend of flavoring extracts, and water to which carbonation had been added, all mixed into a beverage.

"What is it?"

"You drink it. It's supposed to be an improvement on drinking water - it has flavorings, and is a lot more fun." She took the other bottle from her bag, uncorked it, and helped herself as she watched the combat winding down. Laranor followed suit.

The next few minutes were extremely entertaining. It was hard for one's body to decide which to do first: enjoy the drink, or sneeze. Then there was the problem of what the body did with the bubbles after-

Laranor made a noise somewhere between a sneeze and a burp, startling Thani into a laugh.

"It seems to be designed for the purpose of embarrassing people. But it is a good-tasting drink." After examining it for a few moments, Laranor tried shaking the bottle a little to get rid of the carbonation. Predictably enough, the shaken bubbles didn't react well. A few of the people standing too close to the two were starting to look peeved.

She was just finishing her own drink when she realized that the fighting was almost over. Three of the liveried combatants were fighting three Serynzheri Spellbreakers.

And there was only one person left waiting in line.

The girl wore red and bronze livery, and had Spellbreaker's glaives strapped against her shoulders. She had the strangest appearance: an oddly direct gaze, dark bronze skin, and black hair gleaming with blue in the sun. And she was attractive enough in an elfy sort of way to make even Thani - who was normally indifferent about appearance - jealous.

Looks like somebody put a bad writing cliche here. One of those what-do-you-call thems.. It's some sort of Human name.. Marae Sue?

"No, don't." That was Artairis's voice. He dismissed the warrior about to face off against the girl with a lazy wave of his hand. And he set aside the notes, receiving a pair of glaives in return from the silver-haired warrior at his side.

The two met on the combatant's level. They bowed to one another, graceful as cranes, and tapped their glaives in the Spellbreaker salute.

She could see Laranor grinning in anticipation, and realized she was staring at the Spellbreakers as well.

"Begin."

What followed was almost too fast for the eye to perceive. Artairis had lunged sideways, forcing the girl on the defensive. She returned it with a glaive to the face, and a sidelong kick calculated to knock him off his feet.

Artairis reversed the fall of his glaive, letting it rest where the girls leg aimed. And just as quickly, she skipped back and dragged one tip of her glaive over the handle of one of Artairis's. Artairis twisted the blade, and the glaive was wrenched from her grip. Remaining glaive in hand, she feinted to the side, bounding easily off the wall of the pavilion and landing behind Artairis. Artairis deflected the blade without even looking around.

The Spellbreaker girl locked glaives with him for a moment when he spun around, trying to force him back. She reached for the glaive just below him-

-And her hand was greeted by another blade's edge. With a snarl of frustration, she used her weight to throw him back. She picked up her missing glaive, bringing it up just in time to block a new attack. Metal screeched.. Thani could see them straining.

The girl dodged to the side again, elbowing Artairis in the side as momentum carried him past her. His glaive flicked through the air an instant too late. Artairis gave his weapon a spin when the girl was striking out at him, blade upturned. At first, it looked like she'd blocked it. But Thani soon realized that the red on her gloves was no design of the livery.
It ended as suddenly as as it began.

"So that's why they were practicing on the Blood Knight practice grounds.." Laranor's voice was low.

"Huh?"

"Because it's also got paladins around to heal people."

Thani nodded, watching as the two Spellbreakers stepped back.


"She passes."

And the crowd began to applaud.





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#4
Amongst the Nerubians (Part III) Canon


(Elruimar has no idea of what's written on those scrolls. Kehehehehehe.)
Spoiler:
"The most important thing to remember that this is not your home. You are forbidden from the fifth level, and the Halls of En'Khetet. You will be allowed to eat and sleep during the second shift of the guards. This shift lasts nine hours. Take notes now."

Fortunately for him, Elruimar had already been doing just that. The Nerubians, however miserly they were with their free time, were generous with supplies appropriate to one's profession. He'd taken at least twenty sheets of parchment to write and map with.

Khem-Nephris the Seer strode on before him, legs clicking. The walkway they were on spanned one side of the Sundered Monolith, and was at least a hundred feet in the air.
And the only way to get down was webbing. That was going to be fun.

"There. I think I've got everything. Will you show me where those forbidden places are, or should I ask a guard?"

"You will ask a guard. I must soon return to my duties." Several of the Nerubian's eyes shone red as they passed a ray of light. "-As for accommodations, you will be housed in the Bekhret Worker's Quarters on the third level." She - for Khem-Nephris was indeed female - pointed a foreleg off the walkway at a terraced lair in the Monolith.

"Thank you."

"Your gratitude is not desired by us. Save it for other Blood-elves."

"My apologies. It's traditional in my race to thank others when they've rendered a service." Elruimar smiled a little. "Gestures like that help keep the peace."

"All Nerubians keep the peace here. We do not dissent pointlessly when there is work to be done."

Well, they -are- insects...


You will also need this in my absence. Here." Khem-Nephris passed Elruimar a curled scroll. He looked it over. "Carry it with you. It grants you passage around the Sundered Monolith."

Elruimar was about to thank her, then stopped himself. Instead, he watched as Khem-Nephris crept over the rim of the walkway and out of sight. He sighed, sat down on the edge of the walkway, and reached for the closest web.

_____________________________________________________________________

It wasn't long before he was trying his foreleg... er.. hand at some Nerubian sculpture. Someone had left a block of stone not unlike a fencepost in his section of the Bekhret Worker's Quarters, along with a sheet of Nerubian inscriptions. The hint wasn't exactly a subtle one. He carved the top into the shape of a Seer with scrolls and stave, then spent the next hour trying to figure out what the writing meant. Eventually he gave up and just carved it into the sides of the block.

He continued his work for as long as he had material left, then took the absence as a reason for a break. Judging by the Nerubian workers he heard around the building, he was right. The first shift was over. And he was hungry. Hadn't Khem-Nephris said something about meals?

There were clicking noises outside, and the sound of many limbs. There were at least two Workers in the hall outside. Talking - in Common.

"Hh'tch. I will let the workers of the second level know. Taah will be pleased."

"Good. Have you heard news of the Blood-elf imprisoned on the first level? Has Majis'Tomon changed his mind about it yet?"

"How would I know? I am not a Seer."

They lapsed into Nerubian. Elruimar waited until they were finished, and walked out into the halls, intending to greet them.

They straightened their legs at his approach, giving themselves a taller and more menacing aspect. Another Worker at the end of the corridor noticed the two, and joined them. Whether they were accusing, suspicious, or just curious about an elf in their domain was impossible to tell.

In the end, he said nothing to them. He walked down the opposite corridor, never turning away completely, or allowing himself to be caught staring. Staring might provoke them.

Getting into Sundered Monolith was the easiest part, he realized. It was what followed that was the challenge.
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