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Eternal Autumn
#1
"Long-lost treasures! Relics of bygone eras! Gimmicks who's way of production has been lost to the sands of time! Only today, here in Hearthglen!"

The Goblin's voice tore threw the quiet that was early morning Hearthglen. The sun had not yet fully risen, and played with the clouds over the valley, painting the grey canvas brilliant shades of orange and lavender. The cool air, pushed by a slight breeze, was just enough to slip under any cover, be it skin or clothing, and chill one to the very depths of what they were. The thick, dark sweater that hung on Fenastik's frame did barely anything to protect the Highborne from the cold, a fact that was none too pleasing.

Nonetheless, he ambled out into the sun, just in time to here the Goblin cry out. Beyond the voice of the small green man, all was supremely quiet. Even the birds were mercifully minding their own business, leaving the cold unaccompanied in the air. Fenastik gave a yawn and reached his arms out to the sky, feeling the muscles in his back contract. A light pop was his only reward, but it was enough. He began stumbling towards the Goblin, a sly smile slowly filling the Elf's mouth.

"Greetings, Goblin!" Fenastik kept the same smile pasted onto his face. Might as well keep the Goblin quiet, as to allow all others a few more blissful minutes of silence. The Goblin turned to smile at Fenastik, speaking once more. His voice grated against Fenastik's ears, prompting the Highborne to call him every name under the sun that might express Fenastik's displeasure. "Top o' the morning, valued customer! Might I interest you in some long-lost treasures?" The Goblin hopped from the back of his cart, moving to the front, where Fenastik stood.

With a sweep of his hand, the Goblin threw back the cover over his wagon. It was a paltry collection, nothing to be proud over. A broken, yet jewel encrusted sword. At least, what could be assumed to have once been jewel-encrusted. It was marked with empty sockets throughout. Fenastik rested a hand on his own shortsword, covering the gem with a hand. Two necklaces, one silver and one gold, lay criss-crossed over eachother. A winged helmet, with one wing missing. A book, bound in leather. A sigil was burned onto the front, glowing a low purple in the light. It was surrounded by a green circle, with various green runes written over the aged cover.

Fenastik narrowed his eyes, the book tugging on some member of his memory. He reached forward, rubbing a thumb over the purple sigil. The purple sigil pulsed, before the stripes of lettering reached up. "Introduction to the most basic of Arcane". The writing emblazoned the air with a bright purple, written in the ancient language of the Highborne. The Goblin behind Fenastik spoke up, "Interested in 'at, yea?" He gestured to the writing as the Highborne looked down at him. "Shame, 's all in gibber'sh. Some ol' language, can't find noone to translate it."

Fenastik grimaced, looking at the book before returning to the Goblin. "I must say, Goblin, the book has grabbed my interest. How much is it?" The Goblin pursed his lips, "Eh. Seein' as we can't open it, 'n' i's in some oddball language, 'ow 'bout a quarter o' gold?" Fenastik nodded. He reached into his pouch, fumbling along until he found a bag of coins. He pulled it out and counted 25 silver, before dropping it into the Goblin's hand. Greedily, he reached forward, grabbing the book out of the air. He huddled it to his chest and hurried to the Mage Tower of Hearthglen, the Goblin crying out behind him. "Nice doin' business with ya!"

Fenastik leaned into the doorway of the Mage Tower with his shoulder, pushing open the door. The smell of Arcane immediately filled his nostrils, calming the Highborne with ancient memories of home. He shook his head, cleaning off the invisible coldness that clung to the pores of his skin. The Mage Tower, akin to the entire town of Hearthglen, was mercifully empty, only the dull sound of Fenastik's steps making a sound as he moved upstairs.

He set the book down upon the pedestal, looking down at it. It was bound in old, cracking leather. It was fairly fancy, with a green circle that dominated the center of the front page. A purple rune filled the circle, one who's meaning was long-lost upon Fenastik's mind. The green runes along the edge of the page were only ornamental, filling the light around the Highborne with a slightly green hue. A metal clamp grasped near the top corner, shutting the book. This was likely what the Goblin meant by not being able to open it. He grabbed the spine of the book, flipping it over. A similar circle filled the back cover, although the runes that surrounded the edge on the front were absent. Instead, a different rune filled the circle of the back. Fenastik reached forward, gently touching a hand to it.

The leather felt coarse under hand, yielding under the push. No reaction came from this rune, and he flipped it back over. Another push to the front rune, and a separate set of characters forced their way into the air, glowing a bright purple. It was worded in the old language of the Highborne. "What is your name, student?" The words appeared and disappeared too rapidly for the Elf to fully comprehend, but after a second of thought, it came to him. "Fenastik Eldaragun." The runes flashed lazily, before more words were emblazoned. "Demonstrate your ability with the Arcane." The words stayed this time, and Fenastik took his time in reading them.

He snapped his fingers, arcane tugging at the tip of his thumb. An ember appeared above his black glove, floating in the air. It slowly grew to the size of a candle's fire, before the book flashed it's approval once more. The metal clasp that held it still bent away as if made of leather, and the book pushed itself open. The writing inside was floral, showing no signs of age. It was smear-free, and the parchment felt as soft as silk, and yet a soft tug showed that it would not tear. Fenastik moved over the window, drawing closed the shade against the harsh sunrise. He returned to the book and set it to the front page. The ink on the page shifted as he read, forming and changing old words.

Quote:Welcome, Fenastik, to the Introduction to the most basic of Arcane. For reasons unknown, your trainer has decided to temporarily leave your training within my pages. Do not worry, these pages will guide you well.
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#2
Spoiler:

The cathedral was dimly lit, the only illumination coming from the weak candle that Fenastik held in a saucer. The statues of Paladins and Priests, the companions of only themselves, hung in the shadow, just past the limit of the feeble light that Fenastik carried. The pews were devoid of anything bar the prayers that had been left hanging in the air. Combined with the silence that accompanied the darkness, and it seemed like Fenastik was in a world of his own, his only visitors the wooden benches he slowly passed.

The Elf was dressed in a gray shit with matching trousers, leather boots padding silently along the floor. His hair melted into the shadows behind him, cowering from the light of the candle. His eyes focused on the flame as it flickered, before evaporating into wafting smoke. He took his free hand and replaced the fire with a new one, young and full of robust energy as it illuminated the area ahead of him. There stood two oaken doors, the symbol of the two moons emblazoned on the crack of the two doors. Fenastik placed the candle-bearing saucer on a column, before moving forward. He placed his left shoulder on the left door and pushed it open.

The deafening silence consisted, even as the world ahead of him split with life. Center and foremost was the fountain, Azshara and Elune back-to-back as water poured from the former's hands, the latter's eyes fixed to the heavens above. His eyes followed an infernal meteorite as it clove through the statue of the two, smashing in the middle of a group of Kaldorei. The unprepared group went flying, one to the steps leading up to cathedral that Fen hung in the doorway of.

She looked up at Fenastik, her eyes begging for help as her words fell on ears that would not hear. Slowly, Fenastik looked about the scene of war, silence permeating everything as men and women cried out to the dark sky above.Time froze as a scream flew through the air, forcing Fenastik to dart his eyes back to the Kaldorei before him. Her hair had caught ablaze, and the fire slowly crawled up to her scalp, licking at the air as if it were a treat for the impoverished flame.

The female rolled over and clambered to her feet, making a mad dash for the fountain in the center of the square as the flame stayed one step behind her, inching ever closer to her flesh. She dove into the clear water, the splash heralding all other sounds. At once, they flooded Fenastik; the incantations, the war horns, the simultaneous awe-and-horror-inspiring jaw drop that only a battlefield can grant.

The sound rolled over him like a wave, surrounding him in it's all-encompassing cacophony. The sea of sound rocked as if it were under the effects of a storm, and it took everything Fenastik had to merely keep himself alive and breathing. After what seemed like years of every breath being it's own victory, the waves began to abate, enough for Fenastik to tread the water comfortably. Then, they stopped rolling. The entirety of the ocean became flat. Then, it slowly began to rock again.

This time, instead of struggling, Fenastik merely let the water carry him. The waves rocked him, the low rumble of the ocean acting like a lullaby to his ears. A new sound eventually found his sodden ears; that of the waves breaking against the rocks. As he looked toward the sound, he did not find any cliff standing brave against the sea, nor the waves beating against a simple beach. Instead, he merely found a bed, hot and dry despite it's location.

With a smile, Fenastik gripped the sheets and clambered up onto the bed. He let his body melt onto the bed, trying to switch his sodden soul with the comforting warmth of the sheets. As his eyes closed against the soft pillow, his eyes opened to the cold Winterspring air.
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#3
Spoiler:
The Vrykul aren't really given much attention on their culture, or how they lived, or whatever else, really. So, this is your fair warning; the IC posts with Ydir will be fairly fanonical, with inspiration taken from the real life Viking culture.

[Image: RTDBqEt.jpg]

The Vrykul sat. He was as still as death itself, a slight mist pouring off of his form. He stared at the wooden statue before him. The oaken woman returned his stare, silently doubting him. He met the stare, but a staring contest with a statue will always be lost. The Sin'dorei sitting on his knee tapped his thigh. When he looked down, he saw that she was raising an eyebrow at the Vrykul. "Ydir. Are you okay?" With a shake of his head, the Vrykul looked down at her. The statue's constant smile was getting on his nerves. He would have to fix that. The Sin'dorei smiled, and continued. "You were telling me how you became Undead."

He closed his eyes, and began to recite the tale again. The Blood Elf kept on her seat of his knee, writing down what he said onto a disc. "After I was woken by Human, Frorla found me and explained changes. Major change was introduction of Death God, who granted favor to those strong enough. And to prove yourself strong, you had to win battle at Valhalas. So, after day of recuperation, I head to Valhalas and take part in competition. Competition had 10 Vrykul fighting undead. I chose sword and shield to fight with, over bow or axe."

Ydir paused, looking around the Garrison for a second. It was late night by this point, and the area was running on a skeleton crew, the bonfire all but a pile of cinders and ashes. "First fight was against ghoul. That was easy -- I merely stomped on it and it died. No Vrykul died here. Then, we fight geist. Geist got one Vrykul down, too jumpy for her to hit with arrow. I just wait for it to pounce then bash back with shield and stab. Then we fight gargoyle. None died to this. Then crypt fiend. Three died. Then we fight bone golem. Three more die. Now it is just me and woman with bow."

Ydir took a brief pause, allowing the Blood Elf to catch up. She had dark brown hair tucked behind her ear, with a red and gold dress covering most of her form. She finished and looked up at him, flashing a brief smile. The Vrykul continued. "Then, we are told to work together. The Scourge brings abomination for us both to fight together. We fight well, but it has no end. She dies from being distracted by corpse thrown at her, then being cut by cleaver. I continue to fight, until hook takes my shield. Then I run at abomination and stab it in neck. It's cleaver kills me, as well."

The Blood Elf rose an eyebrow as she wrote, before gesturing for the Vrykul to continue. His eyes had returned to the statue, beseaching it for silent approval as he continued to speak. "When tournament was over, Val'kyr came to judge all the participants, to see if they had been worthy of favor of the Death God. She chose me as worthy, as I had lived longest and wounded Abomination the worst. And so, she granted me the Death God's favor. I became Ymirjar, and member of Malykriss. A Death Knight."

The Blood Elf paused, tapping her chin with her pen. "And what happened afterwards?" The Vrykul looked down at her. "I knelt before the Val'kyr and took off clothing. Then, I reached into hole made by abomination's cleaver and tore out heart. I gave it to her, as symbolization of my devotion to Death God. She was pleased, and took it away." The Blood Elf blinked at this, not bothering to write it down. "You... you gave her your heart?" "I gave Death my heart." The Blood Elf looked around briefly, before her eyes went back to the Vrykul. "Where's it now?"

The Vrykul shrugged in response, "Not with me. He paused, adjusting his knees as the Blood Elf pushed herself to her feet. "I see. That's, uh, impressive. Thank you, Ydir. It was lovely talking to you, and I learned a lot. However, I have to go sleep." With a slight nod from both parties, the Blood Elf left with a slight sway of her hips. The Vrykul fell into silence, wilting under the judging stare of the Goddess. She represented everything he had left behind -- life, foremost, but also, in it's own way, death.

The only thing the Vrykul wondered is why he had created her first, out of all the Watchers. Maybe it was because he needed that judgement.
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#4
Sapna pushed the heavy cloth curtain aside, stepping into the small hut. Wraith followed dutifully behind her, head down, feet only gingerly touching the ground. He cast a glance at the old man sitting on a cushion lazily, before flopping to the floor and rolling on his back. Wraith had been washed at the stable, and was rather staunchly against feeling clean. Sapna looked back at him. She snorted and shook her head, bearing a bemused grin as she turned to look at the old Orc in front of her.

He was old. One could tell by the wrinkles that adorned his face like the crosses in a well worn map. His jowls hung off of his jaw like lackluster war banners, forcing the corners of his mouth down. He was in a perpetual scowl, unless he tried otherwise. It wasn't often that he did. He just often sat in the corner of whereever he could find, silently staring at the others with his beady little old man eyes and his grumpy little smile turned upside down. Whenever Sapna was angry, she liked to imagine him like some big tree, just frowning at little worg pups running around his base. The thought made a smile come to her face, which she quickly forced back down.

He watched her grimly as she took a seat, folding her knees under her. She bowed her head, "Thug'lok." He nodded back, although much more briefly. "Sapna." Their friendship had been an odd one; finding eachother on a trip out of Tol Barad, Sapna originally had given less of a shit about the old, grumpy Orc. Disrespectful, she knew, but, as far as we concern, the Elders had done little but f**k over the other Orcs when they'd drank blood. She hadn't really gained any respect for the old man when she'd learned he was at the forefront of that.

However, then she'd learned about his past as a Shadowmoon, and had grown curious. She would learn from her ancestors, but the Thunderlords would get involved and the rest of the conversation would turn into a cock-waving contest, something that wouldn't really net anything truthful for Sapna to know. Something about one clan living in the dark like a bunch of Elves, something about one clan destroying the other, something about fucking over all the other Orcs, something about worg-fuckers. Sapna generally tuned out at that point. However, the old Orc was different. Sapna liked to believe that he gave fairly unbiased descriptions of the Shadowmoon. That wasn't what she was here for, though.

"No spirits today?" He raised his chin slightly, flesh heaving with the effort.

Sapna quickly shook her head. "You know they don't like you. Frankly, were I in their position, I probably wouldn't, either."

Thug'lok grunted, and Sapna could have sworn that she saw a glimmer of humor in his eyes. They were quickly overshadowed by his eyebrows, and they continued talking. His eyes looked over to the worg, before they looked back at her. "I'm well aware of the spirits disdain for me, thank you. After all, there is a reason that I'm clinging onto life so desperately."

Sapna snorted, grinning. Her eyes darted down to the fire, "And how old are you again?" They rose, and her eyebrows raised in an inquisitive manner.

"Don't you know that asking an Elder their age is disrespectful?" The glimmer of humor returned, only to be gone after he blinked. "I'm going to hazard that you want me to continue on the Shadowmoon."

Sapna quickly shook her head. "Uh, no, actually. I -- if you were willing, I'd like to know about fire." She paused for a brief second, before rolling a hand in the air as she elaborated. "I've... gleaned that you were a Shaman before... the green." She enunciated the last words painfully, finding it the kindest way to word what could be a variety of things; blood-drinking, demon-cock-sucking, collective fuckening of the Orcs. The green was just the most respectful. She paused, "If you remember anything, it might be helpful."

Thug'lok raised an eyebrow, peering at her. "How did you -- Right." He shook his head, his heavy jowls finally lifting in a smile. Sapna reminded him of his own kid, so bright-eyed and full of questions. So clever, proud. Stubborn. He snorted. It was all probably why he put up with her. He tilted his head to the side. "And what do you want to know? I've no doubt you know the basics."

She paused, leaning back. There. Easy part was over. Now all there was to do was sit back and listen. She took another sparing glance at Wraith, now growling as he tried to tear a knot of hair from his haunch, before looking back at Thug'lok. "Fire. Anything and everything. Where it's best, where it's worst, how to fight it, how to fight with it, how to be most li--" She was cut off by a simple raised palm.

"Then sit down and let me start from the beginning." Sapna grinned at his response. Yup, easy sailing.

"Fire has long been the Orcs' closest element. Not for the fire that burns within us, nor for the fact that it cleanses our food. No, fire is what first took the Ogres and, from them, burned down the unnecessary and left merely the Orcs. Fire is what allowed us to conquer them, and beat back their earth-skinned overlords for the first time. The Thunderlords will shout to death and beyond about the wind, and lightning, and how it is the savior of all, but first, it was fire."

"And while it is more evident in some clans, there is no doubt that fire is vital to all. Each clan would have it's own element -- the Thunderlords, as you know, would pray to the wind for the speed of their worgs, and to help their spears aim true. The Blackrocks desperately needed fire to fuel their forges, and help them craft as they did. The Shadowmoon would endlessly serve the spirits, and in return would be granted unparallel understanding of the elements. And yet, to the Thunderlords and Shadowmoon, fire was just as important as it was to the Blackrocks."

"And indeed, fire has stuck with us through even the darkest of times. Our warlocks commanded fel-fire, and the demon-inspired bloodlust only fanned the fires within to a greater height. And so, it is obvious that fire is an ally of the Orcs, and will be for a very long time. However, that was not your question."

"Where is it best? Hot places, dry places, yet places full of life. It feeds off of the energy in the air around it. However, it is an inherently chaotic element. Order only survives to hold it back, and it does best when merely unleashed and allowed to do it's own thing. Of course, it is worst in the opposite of these conditions. Cold, wet, barren. You've never seen a fire on an iceberg, and for good reason. For fire is a parasite, and it needs things to feed off of it's surroundings before it gives something to those around it."

"If you want to fight with it, you must be like it; chaotic. Angry. Destructive." He gestured to the small iron oven in the corner as he spoke, fire roaring in it's furnace. "That, for example, is not fire. It is castrated. It's a gimp. Open the door and show that you are like it, and it will gladly help you, as long as you help it escape. To beat it, be calm. Impose limits on it, such as a simple ring of rocks around a campfire, or the iron prison of that poor bastard in the fire. But be sure to be subtle, especially around larger quantities around of it. They will be quick to notice what you are doing, and fight against you."

With that, he stopped, looking at her. "I trust that's enough."

He was answered by an emphatic nod. "More than enough, Elder. Thank you." Sapna looked back at Wraith, gesturing for him to come closer. She reached into one of the saddlebags and withdrew a bag, placing it between them. "This should be enough to tide you over until I next pop by Orgrimmar. Try not to piss any Tauren off, yea?" With one last nod, she pushed herself up, scratching Wraith behind the ears.

"Give your regards to grandpa Thunderlord." She snorted at his last comment and pushed the curtain out, stepping out into the Drag. Wraith trailed behind her, and she smiled, giving him a rub and pat on the side of his stomach.

"Now, we have to go see Dapna." She ambled northwards, kicking her knees out as she walked in an attempt to stretch them after the spell of sitting. The shade of the drag was lovely, as everywhere else in Orgrimmar was burning under the sun in comparison. The trip to the Valley of Honor was not appreciated by the worg, who whined and panted as soon as they were back and under the sun. Sapna tilted her head down and tried to ignore it, at least until they got to the hut they were looking for.

It wasn't so private as Thug'lok's hut. Then again, Thug'lok could probably pay someone to live with him, and they'd still say no. Four women lived here, and only one of them was present at the time. Luckily, it was who Sapna wanted to see. She smiled and gingerly approached the woman, who lay apathetically on a hammock. Wraith had no such cares for subtlety, and rushed towards the woman, licking a hand. The hand responded by scratching him behind the ear, and he sat down.

Dapna pushed herself up, forcing a smile at the sight of her daughter. "Hello there, Sapna." The mother and daughter pair had the same icy blue eyes, but Sapna's had something behind them. Her mother had never quite gotten past the lethargy of the camps, and while the Orcs had rebuilt themselves into something to be proud of, she'd merely stayed and watched. The spirits had no desire to watch this interaction either, but for different reasons than Thug'lok's. One was a reminder of what had caused the Green, and one was a reminder of what the Green, in turn, caused.

Sapna smiled at her mother. "I was just wondering... uh, I was in the neighborhood, and I wanted you to know -- I wanted to know if you needed anything." She internally cursed at all her stuttering, already knowing that her mother's response was going to be a simple shake of the head. Her prediction was right, and Sapna nodded. No further questions were needed. How're you doing? Fine. How're the pups treating you? Good. Anything exciting happen? No. Sapna would offer to tell her mother her adventures, but she wasn't boastful enough, and her mother hardly cared. So, with a simple bow of the head and a weak smile, she backed out. "Alright. It was nice to see you. I'll pop by next time I'm here again."

With her business in Orgrimmar done, she once more plotted a course for Hyjal.
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#5
Spoiler:
"Ydir! Ydir, I know what we can do. How we can save him, save us!" Her voice was frantic, her eyes wide, and her breath shallow. The high pitch pierced the silence that hung as heavy in the night as the darkness. And in a second, all she had dropped, as if concealing some great secret. "We can go. Run. Take him, me, you. Ge--"

He cut her off with a raise of his hand, the tempest of rage quickly kindled. "We can't do it, Britta. Where would you have us go? And how would we get there? The Ymirjar control the plains, and no one would allow us on the ships. What are we to do, smuggle a child?"

"So what? You're just going to lie here--" He rose his hand again, inhaling sharply through his nose. Yet she continued, her voice rising into hysterics. "Lie here like some whipped dog and let the Ymirjar walk all over you? What of me? What of your son, Harl?! You have to--"

He rose from the bed, the spark flaring to life as he thrust her from it. In a second, he was on his own feet and towering over the huddled figure on the floor. A few seconds later, the babe resting inches away in it's crib climbed to life with a rising cry. Ydir opened his mouth, before slowing and calming himself. With a resigned look cast to the floor, he sat back on the bed. "There are some things that are no use fighting, Britta."

The golden light glinted against the frozen ice of the cave, finding every possible recession to try and, for at least a small while, forge a home. But it had no time to, the Vrykul hastening forth, further into the cave. A drop of water dripped unto the torch and caused it splutter, the flame cursing at the ice all around it. Ydir looked to the fire, worrying quietly as his free hand came to give the fire a roof. He did not want to be lost in such a cave in the dark, especially with his torch wet.

Eventually, the frozen ice yielded to rock just as cold. Ydir, now assured of the torch's safety, placed it in the iron brazier that stood alone towards the end of the cave. The end of the cave's all lit up, the runic frost decorated across it's surface reflecting the light as if each individual fleck of the frost was a sapphire. They ran in trails from the roof to the floor of the cave, starting and ending in straight lines. Of course, they were all not so long. Ydir's memory failed on many of the stories, and he just had to put what he knew. Unfortunately, this was little for too many.

The runes scattered across the opposing wall spoke of saga, decorated with pictures and runes. They were written in frost, and spoke of a good many things. Foremost were the saga a Vrykul child would be told, saga that Ydir long ago had committed to memory. Their frost was the eldest, and their length the longest. And this small area that covered but a corner of the cave held all the longest saga that Ydir knew. All but one. The longest saga was written at the mouth of the cave, and Ydir knew that he would never return for it's ending.

Ydir thought of that with a grim chuckle, echoing and reverberating amongst the cave's hollows long after it's natural end. He didn't like to think of himself as important, and yet he knew that, of all saga, the one without an ending would be the one with the most focus upon it. When Vrykul were nothing more than legends, and when the only buildings they used that still stood were the ones gifted to them by the Earthen, the scholars of the world would ponder not how Jotunheim was founded, nor the creation of the Val'kyr. These answers were written on stone. No, they would sit and wonder the fate of the simple Huscarl who had carved these runes.

Maybe he should have added an ending to the longest saga. It was not too late to strike the frost of his own story's most recent additions. What had happened after his awakening could be removed, wiped away like the blood on a blade with the swipe of a fist. The runes at the cave's floor would change from 'CARVED BY YDIR SON OF DYRE' to 'CARVED BY HARL SON OF YDIR'. And just like that, Ydir reckoned, the story would be given a happy ending. They would know the Huscarl's ending.

But that would open up entire hosts of other problems. Why was his story amongst the greats? Perhaps as a saga of the end for the Vrykul. And yet still, why him? Ymiron and Angerboda had suffered and weathered the storm of the curse just as Ydir and Britta had. And all, Ydir was sure, had paid the price of death for it. Ydir was the only one cognizant and caring enough to write of their doom.

The flame of the torch let out a loud pop, tearing Ydir from his metal-domed thoughts and back into this frozen portion of the world as it was. The world without Vrykul. He was in the freezing cold, an environment as comfortable to him as his skin was comfortable to wear. And yet, with a silent shudder, he realized that the world had passed beyond the Vrykul. He was as alien to this world as the Demons.
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#6
Spoiler:
The crib rocked silently in the corner. It seemed to Ydir that the shadows gathered around it, swelling from the rest of the house to gather inside and around the one small object. Outside, the winds sang a mournful hymn. Winter was in full swing, and although Ydir wanted nothing more than to be basked in the light, he had to preserve the wood he had. No fire would roar in it's hearth tonight, nor any night in the foreseeable future. He would rather let the cold join him under his blankets before dismantling the unused furniture of the house.

He closed his eyes, and both the fire and the room sprung to life. Britta sat on the bed, where he was now. She looked up at him, eyes rimmed with red. "Ydir, I... you were right. Harl can't live. I..." She buried her head into her hands once more, and Ydir hung his head.

It was somber news to say the best, and yet, in some forsaken corner of Ydir's heart, he felt elated. The babe had brought a weight many times more than his own and laid it carelessly upon the necks of his parents. With the admission from Britta, he felt... free. Finally. And yet, he couldn't be happy. He could barely force a few words to stumble out of his mouth before he was cut off.

"But... I must take care of it. This is my burden. I will be gone by the end of the week, and head south. I'll return with the fair weather." To this, Ydir could conjure no adequate response. A handful of days later, he watched bitterly from the mountains as he'd seen the two he'd loved, swaddled in furs and cloth, make their way onto the glacial wastes. He'd had no doubt that one would return, but he would have much preferred that both would.

And so, he'd returned home. There was no sign that there'd ever been a child, bar the crib. He'd debated long and hard, deciding that, eventually, he would need the wood. And when the time for him needing the wood had come, he'd found that his axe-arm had faltered. With a habitual prayer to Hodir, begging for the storms to not bother him, Ydir had laid into his bed. He would raise his axe until death clung to his blankets as much as he.

The giant's eyes shocked open, narrowing as they acclimatized to the darkness of this world. Yet no matter how hard he looked, the distance was hard, if not impossible, to see. Bitter winds, herding dots of grey in massive fashion, swirled about the air around him. It didn't take long for him to realize that it was akin to a snowstorm, only with white replaced by gray. But he felt disturbed. The cold of Azeroth recognized that it no longer affected him, and left him be. But the cold of this place reached much deeper, forcing itself past his frozen skin.

He instinctually grabbed the hem of his bear shawl and steadied himself. Then, a shout from far off. A desperate plea for aid, or a babe's cry when not fed for much too long? He couldn't tell. His head rose to the sky, seeing only two cold, quiet moons glaring in response. No stars, and no clouds. The shout rang off again. Closer, louder, yet still ambiguous. His head darted to it's direction. No. He'd been warned of this. This is one of their tricks. He focused on the trail before him and began to walk.

The storm kept enough distance for him to be able to follow the path, and he knew generally where he had to go. East, past the battlefield, and until he found a cave. Roux had a bit of a climb on the path to freedom, and thus they were likely in a valley. Easy enough, if he could tell his directions. The path seemingly wound on and on, and the moons only stayed in the same place. They seemed lonely. Oh, how he would have loved to join the Pale Maiden and comfort her, but it was not to happen tonight. His foot snagged on something unseen, and he went tumbling forth.

He looked back and pushed himself up, inspecting what he had tripped over. The snowdrift conveniently placed in the midst of the road no doubt had something harder within, and Ydir slowly reached down to brush the snow. No. Tricks. It's not real. This is the realm of the Yrkvinn. Straightening himself, he got back on his feet and continued following the path. Behind him, the snow melted into shadow, and hastened back into the storm that surrounded the Vrykul.

He'd gotten many feet before the shout established itself once more. To any others, it would have been fast lost within the howling winds of the storm, yet Ydir knew who and what it was. An instinct long not kindled rose to a furious beating in his chest, and before any thoughts of illusions could barge their way in and ruin it, Ydir had barrelled off the path. The child's cry rose to a fervered panic as that who was manipulating it saw it working. It was always there, always present, and always just out of his sight.

He ran into the storm haphazardly, eyes always gazing ahead desperately. And there, all alone amongst the cold winds, stood her. There was nothing but air beneath her feet, and yet Ydir didn't notice -- he was too stunned, too caught off guard to do anything other than simply stare at her. He took a step forward, a formless mass of words growing and blocking his throat. The stone crumbled and fell off the cliff before him as his toes lingered on the edge.

She stood before him, teary eyed and lost in a world that had delivered her so much pain in so little a time. Her red hair cascaded down her back, and she wore the simple clothing that forced Ydir to reminisce of summers spent in the far south, where death was not delivered by Hodir but by steel, age and fire. She held a package in her arms, swaddled in the pelt of a saber-cat. He need not look at the package to know what it was; after all, he'd been the one to gather the pelt it huddled in. It's presence melted the block in his throat and replaced it with a much lower sense of shame.

Wait.

Why was Britta in Hyjal? And how did she have him?

The block on his memory shattered with the simple revelation, and at once he became aware of all the shouts of yrkvinn and lies that had accrued as he'd blissfully stuck just a toe into the calm of memory. He took a step back from the edge of the cliff, watching the shadow that had been Britta dissolve. It was swept into the storm. The storm began howling with renewed rage. Ydir took one last look back at the place she had been, before turning around and finding the path once more. He thrust his head down and relied solely on sight, following where his eyes would seem safest.
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#7
As a note; this post is a bit more, uh... graphic than my previous ones, and touches upon some iffy issues. If you have a weak heart or stomach, I personally wouldn't read on. But what you do is up to you. Consider yourself warned!

Anyways, this is a new post method I'm going to be trying with Ydir. I'm going to be doing little snippets of his history in a slightly chronological order (whereas posts might not be chronological, but everything within a post will be). I just enjoy writing his history in this format, so it's going to be what I'm focusing on for the bit.

Spoiler:
The Vrykul's senses returned to him one at a time. Taste gave him only the blood in overwhelming quantities, as if he'd lived on a diet of it alone. Sight came second, and with it the stars shining obscenely, surrounded by the tops of pine trees. The moons wafted drowsily across the sky, twirling in and out of his view as they travelled. Wait, no. As he travelled. The next sense to return was hearing, trumpeting the dull roar of a river over stones through ringing ears. The sound of padded feet and exerted breath came soon after. Smell brought with it the stench of blood, and the caressing fragrance of pine needles.

The last sense, touch, came roaring in. He immediately felt the cry of multiple wounds (one was easy to identify as an arrow, still impaled). He could feel stones and dirt rolling beneath his back. He simultaneously recognized the grip of furry paws on his own, and the poorly done tie of rope across his wrists. But these things, he barely noticed. All of his feeble mind was focused on the wound at his stomach. He could feel that something was horribly, horribly wrong with it. But that was too much. As soon as he'd come into consciousness, he once again drifted out of it.

--

He awoke to a shout, then a squeal of pain and the sound of running steps and something going headlong into the ground. It was silent for a few seconds, then a Vrykul cursed and spit. Ydir's eyes opened to a man standing in the door of a house, giving one last look back at Ydir before he closed the door. Ydir summoned all the strength in his body, letting it fill his stomach before crying out. But all he did was add another groan to the sound of the woods.

--

Ydir.

Ydir, get up. It's too warm for you to die. Life lies just across the bridge, in the house. He'll help you.


Ydir rolled over to his stomach, unprepared for the waves of pain that crashed over him. Before he even knew it, a bit of bile had escaped from his throat and found a home on the ground. He groaned and collapsed into it. It felt... warm, but vile. A hand reached down and tenderly touched the cut that had torn through his flesh and muscle and into his stomach. That was what was wrong, it turned out. It's okay, Ydir. You can live from that. Just, just get up, and get across the bridge. Come on. His hand turned from his stomach to the earth and slowly gained it's strength for a push. In one dizzying, nauseating motion, he'd gone from the ground to a knee, one hand clutching his stomach as the other fumbled in the dark for the bridge handguard.

The hand found it, and he quickly pulled himself to his feet. The acid in his stomach sloshed about, pouring out of it's wounded prison and over Ydir's hands. He let out a muted cry of pain, hobbling forth on a leg he hadn't known was wounded. But the house was getting closer. He could feel the warmth of it's light, and he knew that if he looked down, he would see the wound. He did not want to see the wound.

Eventually, his hand had to depart the rail that had led him closer, and he stumbled forth. His knee gave way, and he fell to the ground, a new wave of acid washing over his wound and hand. He let out a gargled cry of pain, hoping that would alert the man within the house, but he heard nothing that could be differentiated from the toads. He pushed himself up, only to fall again. That's not going to work any more. Come on, Ydir. It's no more than the length of your body away. Just one last step and you can reach it.

Ydir let out a shaky breath, looking down at the ground. The bloody and blistered red of his wound greeted the corner of his eyes, and he knew that he could not close his eyes again. He closed a fist around the tatters of his shirt, before bringing the fist up to his mouth and releasing his breath into it. He pushed himself to his feet, betting all his weight on the wounded leg if only for a second. It gave out mid-stride, and he collapsed forward, his good leg struggling to keep balance as he once again let out a gargled cry of pain.

One more. One more. His frantic thoughts were timed with the desperate beating of his heart. He felt the sweat drenching his body, mixing with the blood and acid lower down into a horrid combination that he could not think of; else, he would feel it. One more. One more. He let out another silent warcry, and pushed on his good leg. He found his way up with surprising ease, before he tottered slowly back then slowly forward. With a crack, he hit the door of the house.


"Oh no... Papa, one's still alive! Papa!"


Spoiler:
He awoke some time later to find an owl-eyed girl staring at him. Well, maybe not girl. She'd grown much in the past few years and he could tell that she was not yet done. He blinked a few times, hand instinctively resting over his wound. He felt the heavy layers of bandages between his hand and it, and he let out a sigh of relief as he leaned back onto the furs.

"Papa said that you were lucky to be alive. Your stomach was just about hanging out, and you were paler than the Moon. I wouldn't be surprised if you were still drenched."

Ydir rolled his head to look at the girl. He could feel the heavy bags under his eyes, and knew that he was going to fall asleep soon if he wanted to or not. "Then I suppose we're lucky I'm still here, no?"

"Yea, 'we'. You're in my bed, you know."

Ydir let out a single chuckle, a low 'heh' that caused his body to slightly crunch. He immediately regretted the action and leaned back, closing his eyes.

"My father's Gandol, by the way. My mother is Svera."

"And you?"

"I'm Britta."

"Nice to meet you, Britta. I'm Ydir."

"Nice to meet you too. I'll let you sleep, but when you wake up, papa wants to talk about getting revenge on those Furbolg. Apparently, they've been killing a lot of Vrykul."
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