�Fuck,� came the first waking word from the vindicator beneath the too-thin sheets of his bed in Westguard. He�d come to be fond of that short, sharp expression over his time on Azeroth. It was so very good at communicating his mindset.

Gripping the edge of the bed frame with a calloused palm, Zaanthe pushed himself off of his mattress and up onto his hooves just as the darkness of night barely began to recede. Thus did the vindicator�s morning routine begin, long before most would even consider it morning. Bright eyes shot over towards the chest at the foot of his bed, atop which sat a neatly-placed chess set. Its pieces were all squarely set in their starting positions, face forward and ready for the coming conflict. It would�ve been a perfect setup for a match if it weren�t for the few missing pieces. With a soft grunt and a quick clear of his throat, the vindicator took a few strides over to where he had some folded clothing; a vest and pair of trousers that were loose enough to allow for ease of movement. 

Taking a few steps forward, Zaanthe set his hand around the heavy door�s handle before pushing the threshold open carefully. He paused before stepping outside. He had done every morning for almost a week now. The first time it had been thanks to mild shock–his time from waking to being ready to step outside was considerably shorter than usual. It was a bright side to the situation, he supposed. Before finally stepping out, Zaanthe reached over towards a small, short table at the door�s side. His open palm and grasping digits swiped at nothing. Leaning backwards to glance over his shoulder, the draenei studied the surface with a furrowed brow. Beside that table lay his heavy crystalline maul, precisely where he�d set it, but his belt and dagger were nowhere to be found. 

�… Fuck!� He did so like the word.

Closing the door behind him, the vindicator started his run without the short blade he kept with him, in case of emergencies. Hooves began their heavy thuds around the inside perimeter of the fort as Zaanthe allowed his mind to wander. This was his time, the brief reprieve from the cacophony of other voices that filled the keep nowadays. 

He thought of Sielic, a man he never knew.  �Scout�, they kept calling him. Smart and quick, that much was apparent. He cared not for the man’s fate, in truth.

Then of Mosur: what he would be capable of, how best to bring him to heel, what to keep watch for. The two had fought before, and while the vindicator had the Light and its strength, Mosur had the elements and their variety of qualities. If the shaman was quick enough on the draw, Zaanthe would never close the distance. Distraction might be key.

…Caelryn. That would work, though perhaps she might see red upon finding him upon the battlefield. He�d attempted to console her with what he thought were words of wisdom. He�d even empathized with her, offering a brief and vague look into his past. Or rather, he thought, he�d empathized with the inanimate object she�d become. Perhaps it wasn�t his place to connect emotionally. He�d tried and almost had his throat torn out. With a brief snort and a disingenuous grin, Zaanthe shook his head. He thought back to yet another attempted emotional connection, in which he�d been less lucky. Gored, burned, and throat slit.

The solution seemed simple. 

Stop trying. 

�… Better get that fucking dagger back.�

Author Zaanthe
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