In Stormwind - By Ameratsu
The sun, hanging low and red in colour, dipped below the horizon gradually. The great city of Stormwind, capital of the Alliance, stood below the retreating sentinel. it’s streets tinted an orange hue, as it’s denizens made preparations to rest another night.
The crowd flowed out of the Keep, as water escapes from a crack in a dam. All around, tens, if not hundreds of men dressed in the popular attire of the time waltzed out of the walled castle. A few women, their faces commonly wrinkled, their hair grey as if it was a joint decision, followed their men. In the crowd, however, one young woman, dressed in a moderate white dressed, walked slowly. The rock in the flood. One more day over, she thought. Even in her head, those words were spoken with venom. “And tomorrow, one more day of fat men, from big houses, waking with big hangovers.”
Lady Natasha Sinclair had, as she would say to no one publicly, the privilege to have been born into a noble family. The Sinclair bloodline did not hold much, her father, a former paladin Tycho Sinclair, had merely bought the title and a small plot of land from an elderly, heirless baron after the Second War. Of course, the land was in Northern Lordaeron. In the confusion following the Third War, she had managed to secure not only the rights to her title as Baroness, but also the deeds to lands in Tirisfal, Silverpine Woods. She had paid for this with the loss of her father and, she believed, sister. And now, to keep her privilege, she had to sit through the self-serving House of Nobles, filled with men who barely reached above ants in her opinion.
She passed along the canals, the regular route to her abode in the Mage Quarter. She saw them again. She always saw them at this time at night. The signs are always there. The blankets huddled into alleyways. The dolls scattered near the smaller piles. “How disgusting,” she thought. “Absolutely disgusting. Those men are probably spending more on alcohol then these souls get in a week. And they don’t vomit it up again in a few hours. The Guard do nothing. That idiot who runs it even told me to.. Well… It’s just good that, if they won’t do anything, We will give these men and women purpose in life.”
Her feet set foot on softer ground before she noticed she was walking into the Mage Quarter. When she reached her home, the evening sun illuminating her hallway, she sighed as she entered the small-study she essentially lived in these days. A stout, tuxedo-wearing dwarf welcomed her from the door between the study and the kitchen. He held a frying pan in one hand, and a letter in the other.
“Sorry, ma’am, this came fer you”, he said, as he placed the envelope on the table and went back to the kitchen. Soon sizzling sounds were heard.
Lady Sinclair walked towards the table, glancing at the letter and sighing. The calling card had come.
'Dear Madam Sinclair,
I would wish to speak with you in the Forest of Elywnn at the time we have previously done so on many occasions. Jonathon Smithly'
The name was fake. So was the area. They would not meet in the comfort of a forest, but in the roaring fires near Blackrock Mountain. It was about one thing and one thing only: The Twilight’s Hammer. Lady Natasha had been a disciple in it for many years, since the fall of Dalaran, and now it was time for her to reveal herself. Or, at least it soon would be.
“La Salle. Fantastic”, She sighed inwardly to herself. “Well, it’s time to see what I must do to dedicate myself to the Gods.”
With that, she poured a glass of brandy for herself, and set off once more into the cold evening.
The sun had already set, not too long past, as the sky was still a glowing red. Yet a figure was still kneeling on a bridge, staring into the Canals. The armoured apparition looked as though it was going to war. Yet, she just stared into the river.
“Bridgette Ayama Heartly”, she thought as she sighed to herself. “That’s what it would say. Not Ayama Jaeger, like I had planned so many months ago.”.
A gauntlet was unfastened and slipped off. A delicate hand was revealed from underneath. Ayama brought it to her face, studying the ring on the second-last finger. “Not a diamond, but I had never wanted one. I had found someone. And then he… He… I don’t even know. Was Uhtred killed in battle? Did he leave me? Did he find another girl? One who…. Who could give him children…”. Tears ran down Bridgette’s cheeks, and fell and joined the river’s waters to flow into the sea.
“I could do it… It would say Heartly. Not Jaeger, like I wanted when I had married Uhtred. Not Sinclair. No, I abandoned that life when the War ended… Heartly…”
She thought over the past year. Her meeting Uhtred, the first man to love her. The day she woke to find him missing. Joining the mercenary company to, she didn’t know. Track him down? She remembered what she thought of, that she had sincerely wanted, as she first fought with the Company. A headstone, reading “Bridgette Ayama Jaeger, died in combat”
“I was wanting to die. I wanted to die in battle, so I wouldn’t have to do.. This”. She stared at the icy waters. It stared back at her, flowing rapidly. She had tried to jump before, but she was stopped. She remembered Captain Waters, the Mercenary group’s captain trying to save her. She didn’t change her view of the river, but her mindset was changed. Shakily, she stood up to return to the inn, where the Company had booked rooms for the members.
“One day more.” She thought. “If I don’t find him in one more day, I will fall into the river. There is no way to go on without him.”
Echoes spread throughout the streets, as she walked on. The tall figure, dressed in long flowing robe, walked slowly across the cobblestones as her hooves clinked across the stones. “It’s always like this here”, she thought in her native Draenei, “These stones, I can feel them loosen under my hooves. I would rather be back in Mac’Aree. That was a city to be proud of. The solid bridges. The Citadel of the Magi.”
She crossed the smoky path into the back-gate of Stormwind. Outside was large forrest-like area. “I’ve gotten too used to sleeping in woods.”, she laughed to herself. There was no real danger, any wolves there would be asleep, and if they woke her they’d be the ones who’d need medical attention.
“Ironic, no? The once-great, young, Sorceress, Irisi, now debased to asking the elements for power, and sleeping in woods.” Her mind flashed, to images long past. A great standing tower. A man, falling from it, surrounded by broken shards. A hasty flight from the city to the Kaarinos mountains. So many years passing by. Her once young body, breaking with age. The supposed peace on Draenor. Then, the orcs, and then the Blood Elves. Especially that one. And then, that assault by a Warlock in Darnassus…. She touched her stomach, which under her robes was blackened and burned. “I will probably die with this scar.”
Irisi stared at the sky. It was light-blue, the early twilight, and the moons were just coming into sight. She laid her body down on the soft grass, and tried to forget.
The city walls were quiet. A single guard standing watch on the turret. “This ain’ so bad”, he thought, “Good view, fresh air, not-so-bad hours”. Unfortunately, his opinion would possibly have changed had he seen the hook attached to a rope. It tangled itself on his leg, and as he plummeted to the ground, his last thoughts echoed in his mind.
“Had to say “fresh air” didn’t I!”
Underneath the wall, after hiding the body in a bush, the hook’s owner was busy re-attaching it to her crossbow and firing it again. Luckily, with the guard there disposed of, and the corner she had chosen, no one had seen the Elf walk up the walls of the City. Even if there was an observer, all they would have seen was a slim silhouette against the moon, in the middle of the night, against a black, starless sky.
“Had it been any easier, I’d have thought it was a trap”, she acknowledged to herself. She had hoped what that homeless man outside the city had told her was correct. The target had matched his description, at least the last time she had seen the target.
She looked at her gun. It wasn’t a good, Elvish bow, but it was tinkered by some of the best goblins her gold could buy, and no good goblin is above gold. “The cost of this one night does not matter. Only that she dies.”
Edala Whitedawn had chased her target for nearly two years, now. Ever since the Blood Elf had been attacked by her, now, prey, in the Outlands. In that fight, she had been scarred on her right cheek, but her target had lost half her left horn.
When she had her chance to get revenge, the target was protected by a band of mercenaries it had joined. But now, Edala had her chance.
She lifted the weapon’s viewfinder to her eye. It scoured the forest until she had spotted her prey. It looked like the target, that was sure. Edala knew for certain when it’s stomach was in sight. She recognised the black scarring pattern.
With a shot loaded into place with a clunk, she lined up the finder’s arrows with her target’s head. The Draenei wouldn’t know what killed her.
“There she is! There’s the Elf that got Jimmy!”
Upon hearing this shout, Edala turned around, on a near-by wall a group of soldiers were pointing at her. She thought to raise her weapon, but decided against it. “Such a weapon isn’t for them. But her.”
She turned her head once more, where her prey lay, sleeping unwarily. She brought her fingers to point at her, in a mock salute.
“Until next we meet, Irisi.”
The Elf ran to the edge of the wall, and jumped towards the nearest hedge large enough to break her fall. Then she stole away into the night.
The sun rose, blue and red filled the sky, as a bundle in a sewer-flow hole in the wall moved and arose. A small figure, childlike, with hair as green as her eyes, emerged from under her ragged blanket and picked it up. She yawned, and walked down to the nearby canal to freshen up.
As her reflection stared back at her, the Gnome could only help but think, “Come on, Claydiette. You have to keep hoping. Surely someone wants a Gnome with an Engineering degree. I mean.. Ok, all Gnomes have them, but all Gnomes can’t be everywhere… Right?… Oh, you’re a fool.
As she walked back, she noticed a poster, mounted to a standing-signpost, announcing recruitment for the Guard.
“That’s it! I’ll break that sign and they’ll pay me to make a new one.”
Many tales are told in many cities, across many lands and worlds. These are but a few, in one single night, in the great city of Stormwind, capital of the Alliance.