The guildstone lay so innocently on the table; but Cael refused to turn it back on. The shaky singsong voice of Lodiane, the healer, haunted her. Cold silvery moonlight came through the window, sparkling on it. The damn thing looked so innocent.
She shivered, reflexive, in fear, and hated herself for it.
Control was not a fixture of her life, not since the wolf. It was not a thing built for control, it was not something to be leashed, and resisted it. But this, this she could help; she could improve on. She was. With the monks, the help of the Justicar, of Mosur, of Kory…
…And now this.
I can’t get close enough to kill him, because he will mind control me. If he mind controls me, I run the risk of literally losing control and killing and eating my friends. People will die, badly, before they could stop me.
A pause, morose, as she looked at the moonlight on the stone.
I’d die too, but… That’s- that’s part of the risk I run. Sort of.
A voice that sounded a lot like Koryander, and the Justicar, made her pause there a little Maybe…
He’s going after the young, the scared, the weak. She knew that. She was a hunter, too, after all. It was obvious. And I’m all three, she thought, bitterly. But how can I not be? He can turn me back into- into- into the thing I was, and I can’t stop him-
She shook under her blankets, wrapped around her with a leatherbound book at her feet. Reading was impossible, she didn’t have the concentration for it. Meditation much the same today, all the monks aside.
They were all leaving for the Broken Shores and the battle for Azeroth ahead, in a week, two max, and she was shaking in her fucking boots like a damn coward.
Cael swallowed against hot tears and gritted her teeth against the self-hate and recrimination.
Some protector she was.
All her work improving her self-control was rendered null and void by one demon, who could wrench it from her as easily as a hot knife through cheese.
Goldrinn’s fucking teeth and the Light, yes, she was scared.
Not of the demon. Demons were just… demons. Things. They could be fought, or fought enough, anyways.
She remembered, she remembered the taste of flesh and blood and bone, and how sweet it was, and how good it felt, the rush of victory and not-dying-kill-the-rest-not-dead and the shaking intensified. She remembered the feeling of it in her mind and the literal decision that she, Cael, would actually rather die than be that thing again and hurt her friends and break her oaths, and the wolf would do the same rather than be enslaved again. Concrete memories were elusive, but feelings, sensations, these stayed with her, to her eternal damnation.
The wolf snarled and paced inside her, simmering under the surface of her skin with fury and hate and need to kill.
The Justicar…. Cael sighed. I dunno that she gets it. Not something she’d ever thought she’d say about the normally flawless leader of the Templars, but she had control. She could do things. Fight back, with her skill, with healing, with the Light. As a paladin, she probably always had, though no one became as good as she was without seeing the gory underbelly of war and death and darkness.
But Cael had none of that.
Cael had nothing like that to combat evil with, nothing special or unique to bring forth.
There would be no sleep for her.
Cael pulled the blankets farther around her, haunted gold eyes gleaming in the dark of her room in the inn, and tried, again, to meditate.
It wasn’t much help, but she was trying.
That was all she had to give.