It wasn't a ghost town. Not exactly. A few hardy stragglers still made Tranquility's Watch their home. Smoke rose from a smattering of chimneys. There were signs of a late harvest in the mostly-barren fields outside the walls.  But the previous winter had, by all accounts, been harsh, and much of the population had migrated south. Even Dr. Phoenixheart had packed up her clinic and moved away. The repairs to the walls had progressed some since Maelstrome had last been there, but an overgrown pile of stones showed the builders had stopped mid-progress.

Lilliana's house was as disheveled as its surroundings. Her front door hung from one hinge and her carefully planned garden had been transformed into a wild mass of tangled weeds.  Any clues to her whereabouts had long since been erased by weather and squatters.

The tower, when Mael finally reached it, was in worse shape than when Naronel, its enigmatic former owner, had first claimed it. The hole that Mael herself had torn in the roof in a fit of scorned rage had clearly done something to the underlying support; most of the top half of the tower was gone, its rocks scattered along the ground or choking the staircase.

She had never felt so alone. An odd statement for a death knight, perhaps; she had, after all, been made for the express purpose of slaughter. Born to kill. Or, rather, reborn to kill. The price of her quest to remember emotion, and the subsequent accidental dumping of too many of them into her, still bore consequences she wasn't sure she wanted to face. Life, it turns out, is easier when you cannot feel it. Emptier, yes. Colder, certainly. But without complications. Sometimes she wished she had that back. The moment she stepped into the tower's cold foyer, for instance – avoiding the conflicting rush of emotions that jumped her like a pack of sha-crazed hozen would have been a true blessing.

Ah well. The past was just that – passed. The Blood, like everything else, had changed. Nestarion, whom she knew, and Raelyan, whom she did not, were leading them in a new battle, against new foes. The Age of War, this era would likely be called in the history books. There hadn't been real peace in ten years, at least. It was as if some malignant outside force was just making stuff up and throwing it at Azeroth for its own twisted amusement. 

It didn't matter. They would face whatever challenges came their way because…well, what choice did they have? When your home is invaded, you have to fight, or you die. It really is a simple equation, once you boil it down.

Maelstrome's guildstone came to life. Gulnaz, checking on her status. Another new name in a new life. It was time to put an ebb to her emotional tide; war beckoned, and the Scourge part of herself could taste slaughter on the wind.

"I'm on my way," she said into the stone. She turned and walked out of the tower, and did not look back as Ossis carried her toward the front.

Author Sunscryer
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