"Heart of a child, one final sigh
As another love goes cold."
- Nightwish: For the Heart I Once Had.
It is another late evening’s walk; yet another where I’ve discretely left the Withamhall Manor, to be left alone to my thoughts. I still can’t figure it out. I still can’t decide what to choose. Paladin. Mother. I just can’t be both.
The lamps of the street send cascading shadows wherever I look, and even then I find myself making ideas of what they each represent. And of course it has to be my fears. The shadows remind me of my time of captivity in Blackrock Mountain, where my husband and closest friends fought their way into, just to spirit me away from the cruel hands of the Dark Irons. The memory of the pain I experienced there is enough to make me try to push away the images, the thoughts that went through my head in those hours of unimaginable pain and torture.
It is then that I begin to recall when I would see sister’s face, lurking in the shadows, mirroring my guilt of having failed her and all those she came to hurt. Yet it was also then that I finally came to terms with my failure. I could’ve saved her, I had always told myself, but in the end it was really her choice, it was her actions that separated us. Light, I hope she has come to see the error of her ways, and somehow found her way back to the serenity that is in the Light – the same Light that seemed to shine in her eyes during my dark hours of captivity. It was that face, emotionless at first and then full of love, that kept me strong. The Dark Irons tried to break me, tried to do something to me with whatever experiment one of their leaders exposed me to; but I had kept up my resistance, calling upon the Light to ward off their sickly attempts…whatever it was.
The bridge. I stop there a moment, gazing at the lazy water quietly splashing against the layered stones. One of the moons casually lights up the canal. Moons. Moon. Temple of the Moon.
Memories again! Light’s name, is that all I’ve become? A vessel full of memories that only seem to haunt me like some damned ghosts?
With that I walk away again. I can’t go on living like this. I must change. I know I can change!
I hear voices as I come to the archway that leads into the park. Must be Night Elves, I gather. They always wander this district during the night, since it is their way. Children of the night, if anything. Children of the stars, I believe they call themselves. Kaldorei.
No. That’s the voice of an old man. He doesn’t sound too happy at that. Then another voice, snappy, commanding. Strange.
I peer around the corner, seeing an old man sitting close up against the wall, holding on to a sack of what I surmise to be goods. A younger man is also there, holding on to the other end of the sack, commanding the older to let go, lest he renders his face unrecognisable. A theft!
I stop myself a moment, as I find that I am about to rush to the old man’s aid. My child.
I peer down at the slight bulge on my stomach. I could risk harming it. It’s still so small, still so vulnerable.
"Gimme the sack, ol’ fool!"
My body moves again, yet three more steps before my mind objects. The child! Think of the child!
"I’ll smash yer face in! Ya hear?!"
Do you vow to vanquish evil wherever it be found, and protect the weak and innocent with your very life?
The oath. I swore to do so, but it doesn’t include "with your child’s very life", does it?
The younger man slaps the elderly on his cheek, very sharply from the sound that resonates through the archway. And that settles everything.
I don’t yell anything; won’t give him a warning that I’m approaching. I simply just rush at the younger man just as the older gives in and lets go of his sack.
He hears my approach, and due to the few torches that are lit to make it easier to pass through reveal my coming. However, he isn’t daunted right away, until I am closer. From the change in his expression, I gather that he somehow recognises me – that being evident as he mutters a curse and a mentioning about Paladin defenders. He tugs tail and runs with me in hot pursuit.
Our loud steps echo through the next archway that leads to the other side of the Park District. The younger makes a mistake by heading towards the docks. Apparently he thinks that he can hide there more easily, or perhaps he does know some part of the harbour, which he could lose me. If he does stop his cursing and heavy panting. He’s afraid. That much is evident, but it also gives him the speed that could help him outrun me.
I grit my teeth in resolution, and increase my speed in turn. He committed a crime. He hurt an old man in order to steal his goods. Injustice. That is enough to make me more determined.
We reach the huge archway leading to the harbour, and he runs fast past the guard stationed there, who looks dumbfounded at us both as we pass.
"Thief!" I snap, and finally the guard comes to and yells an alarm.
They won’t be able to keep up, though, not with that armour they’re wearing. It slows them down considerably. Only so much one has the stamina for when wearing several kilos of platemail.
The thief runs down the pathway leading down to the harbour proper, and that is when I get my idea. I slow down as the pathway makes a ninety degree turn to the right, since it’s built like a staircase. I wait.
And then I jump, right smack dab beside him, but close enough to make him tumble. Holding tightly on to him, we roll down the remainder of the path way, before it joins with its “sibling” from the other side. He of course tries to get loose, and gives me a punch on my chest, to which I reply with a firm balled fist into his face.
The thief doesn’t struggle after that, and at that point the guards finally arrive.
"A thief. He stole this sack from an elder man. He’s at the archway leading from the Park toward the Mage Quarter," I report panting as I struggle up on my feet. My legs hurt, as do some parts of my body. Haven’t had a good run like that for a long while.
"Well done, m’Lady," one of the guards comment.
I wave a hand dismissively. "’Twas nothing. Just be sure to find the old man. I really shouldn’t be doing these things." I chuckle a bit, contented with having caught the wrong-doer.
Though I try to dampen it, the feeling is just so sweet.
Bidding the guards good night, I make my way home, limping a bit after, since the jump and rolling about was not really painless. I stroke my stomach tenderly before entering the manor. There we go. Safe and sound.
The night seems to be filled with more restless thoughts. Yet another. Light, how I’m starting to hate this. Waking up in the middle of the night, because my thoughts won’t settle. I have to reach a decision. Mother. Paladin. I can’t be both.
I turn on my back, frowning as I do so.
I feel a bit sick, I think. A bit strange. And I try to lie more comfortably in the bed.
Was that a wet sensation? Oh, heavens. I hope I haven’t wet myself. The pregnancy sure is not being light on my bladder, but that is normal. Nothing new to that. So I push myself up in the bed, and quietly as possible light the candle on the table on my side with a match. Have to get up and clean this, and doing it as quietly as possible so that Richeron won’t wake up.
Having lit the candle I pull off my duvet.
There’s blood between my legs.
Oh, Light, no...