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Nadana nodded at the draenei’s latest question. The castle would be a difficult place to enter, but not impossible. While she had taken the time to explain they were in the afterlife, debate with them whether they were dead or not, and explain the basic concept of Revendreth and its purpose. She hadn’t even started on the realm’s politics. There wouldn’t be enough time for that.

“While it is possible for more of my order to come with us, we will be better off in a smaller group. I will accompany you, as I am the most familiar with the castle’s layout. I may even be able to make excuses for having you all with me if we are seen.”

“The plan sounds fine. But explain to us, to me, Nadana,” Zaanthe spoke her name with venom. “Why should I distrust so many thousands of years of instinct? Your kind have a well-established history in deception.”

Sielic stood to the side of Zaanthe, avoiding the strong look being aimed at Nadana. She made him uncomfortable, explanation or not. He had fought against eredar before, though nowhere near as much as the Vindicator had. He kept quiet as the draenei spoke.

Nadana held her hands up and nodded once to him. “It is a fair question to ask. We were led astray by Kil’Jaeden, sure, but even as we saw the path he directed us along, we still followed him. There is no excuse, and it took many, many years to stop blaming someone else for my own choices and my own faults. I have come to terms with my wrongs and I have paid for them. I have been freed of my mortal sins. Those words may not mean anything to you, but free from them I have the ability to choose my own form in this land of death. I retain the one I had in life. So, if I wanted to deceive you, I simply would not have shown you my true face.”

“She has a point, you know. Strange bedfellows, but we can reassess our situation after we free our friends, aye?” Sielic nodded.

The vindicator stood quiet, considering the woman’s answer. He glanced off towards the grey leafless trees and the blood-colored mists in the distance. and ran his tongue across his teeth in irritation. “I suppose we have few other options, and we need to act.”

Satisfied enough with his begrudging acceptance she continued. “There is a service entrance near the prison for the stoneborn to move in and out more freely. We can enter there and once we have found them we can work on freeing them then getting back out. Once the four of you have escaped we will find a way to send you to Oribos. Anima may be a problem but we will find a way.”

Sielic glanced around, nervous. He frowned. “The sooner, the better, I say.”

Nadana pulled a red translucent item from her pouch. It was a flat ruby, on it etched an upside down naaru. She offered it to Zaanthe. “If we become separated I can find you with this. Are there any more questions before we go?”

The vindicator took the symbol, though with an air of caution. He turned the thing in his digits, then tucked it away. “None that can be answered in any reasonable amount of time,” came his response, grumbled and halfway quiet. “But I’d like to visit them another time. Lead the way.” Zaanthe gestured with a hand towards the castle grounds, impatient as ever.

Sielic raised two fingers. “Do I get a fancy locator? How many of your kind are there here?”

“Yes, of course.” She answered to both of them. “It is possible the pair of you could be separated.” She retrieved another small flat ruby with the same etched symbol and offered it to Sielic. “By my kind do you mean Venthyr or reformed eredar?” She paused briefly but answered the question she believed he was really asking. “The Repentant in Revendreth are about five dozen. That does not count eredars that choose not to stay with the order, or members that now count themselves denizens of other realms of the Shadowlands. I can not speak to those that came before me, but as long as I have been here thousands have passed through Revendreth and been delivered to their final place. Likewise dozens are still atoning for their mortal sins.”

Sielic paused to think about her answer and put it aside for later.

Nadana looked to the pair of them. “If you saw them being led to the castle, our best hope is that they are in the waiting cells of Pride’s Prison. It is unlikely the Master took an interest in these errant souls. If we are unlucky, they will be taken to the Fearstalker to be hunted. I am unsure how that would affect your… strange souls.” She paused and shook her head. “We shouldn’t dawdle.” She said and turned away from the pair.

They headed back down the hill to cross the gully known as the Endermire towards the castle once more. “Once inside I will need the two of you to walk in front of me so I can hold the back of your necks.”

Sielic warily eyed the surroundings as they neared the swamp area. He tensed and readied himself. “I do not like it here, too murky, too dark.” He sighed.

Zaanthe cut her off before she could continue. “Hold the back of our necks?” He interrupted, as though he were ready to refute her idea. The more he thought about it, however, the more he realized he had no counter to her offer. Still, he was indignant to the idea.

“Because I need to look as though I have you under control and I highly doubt you would rather I use chains to create that same effect.” She waited patiently for an alternative idea from either of the souls. Hearing none, she continued on and ducked a thorny dead branch.

The small group avoided traps, patrols, and wild beasts coming to the side of the castle with little trouble. A discrete door was sheltered away from most eyes, hidden by the castle architecture, though it appeared to be a well-used entrance.

Nadana pressed her hand to the handleless door and after a brief moment of concentration, it opened. “Go,” she said, tilting her head and motioning inward. Once inside the castle she placed her hand at the base of their necks, her thumb and fingers comfortable around each. “Now, this way,” she spoke quietly.

Nadana stood straight, head high and her shoulders back. With gentle pushes against the back of their necks she directed them down the darkened hall. They passed no-one as they moved inconspicuously through the stoneborn’s entrance, as she had referred to it.

They took several twisting turns, but not so many that either of the Templars in tow had trouble keeping up with where they had gone. “Almost there.” She commented, her tone a little sharper than it had been before.

“Nadana!” The deep voice seemed to startle the woman who grasped her hands around Zaanthe and Sielic’s necks more tightly. “Caught some strange ones too, did you?” A large winged man stepped away from the wall. He looked somewhere between a gargoyle and an eredar; he was a Stoneborn. He approached, tilting his head and giving them a weighing look.

“Are the others already here, then?” She questioned, her grip on the pair’s neck loosening while she spoke. “Where are they being kept? I should put them all together.”

“The Master is having them kept in Pride’s Prison, the back quarter..”

Nadana nodded. “Are you on guard this evening?” She waited for the stoneborn to nod. “Then get back to your post, you know what the master has been dealing with recently.”

After a quick nod, the winged stoneborn returned to where he’d been, before standing at attention against the very same wall.

Nadana jerked Zaanthe forward as she started walking again. She took a right at the next corner heading straight towards the cells their companions had been thrown in.

Author Mosur
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