Rann collapsed on the soft bed, rented from one of the luxurious inns in Dalaran, and buried her face in the pillow. She hit her face against it several times.


"What was I thinking?" she groaned into it. 


Awakening from her ordeal at the hands of an assassin in the garrison, Rann had decided to make up for the lost days by actively pursuing the mystery of the warlock Claret's spell tome. She successfully tricked an ogre into opening it, setting off whatever traps it may have had in place, and took it back. Lurking within the tome were advanced versions of spells she already knew and new, mysterious control and summoning spells.


Promptly deciding that to fully deal with Claret, she would need to advance to the full stature of Archmage, Rann had arranged an audience with the Council of Six. She would appear before them tomorrow; hence her stay in Dalaran tonight. That alone was enough to give her jitters.


So why did she have to stop at the weekly market in Lakeshire?


And why, for the first time in over a century, did her heart flutter when someone bothered to flirt with her?


"And why the flying fel did I say yes to that spontaneous date?!" she yelled into the pillow.


It had gone well enough, even though she knew he was a warlock. Was she just using him? She wasn't sure. Discussing the Claret problem had been helpful to her… An outside voice, fresh eyes, and someone who might have the capacity to think like Claret. He seemed unconcerned with Rann's descriptions of all that Claret had done, noting only that she seemed like a mere whelp of a warlock. Still, it was helpful that he suggested that perhaps Claret was merely a pawn, a human possessed by a succubus, who would try to keep their hosts as beautiful and perfect as possible. Could Idella be a new host, being "prepped?" This frightening possibility seemed all too likely, especially with the disturbing runes that had appeared on Idella's face.


And then his worgen friend had to go and rip his hat and mask off so Rann could see his face.


She wished she hadn't.


"First date in over a century and…oh Light, what was that?" she sobbed into the pillow, shaking her head and trying to forget the image that had seared itself into her eyes. Both his eye sockets were empty… No wonder that raven was always around, his magic allowing him to see through the bird… His scarred and sagging eyebrow over his left eye socket was the nicest thing about his face. Scars ran the length of his neck. He had been tortured, over and over, for decades on end. If Claret was a whelp, what this man had been through was something Rann couldn't even imagine. She wept as the sight crept back into her mind over and over.


She finally lifted her face from the pillow and cried out.


"WHY did I agree to a second date?!"


And her face hit the pillow again.

Author Rann
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