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Originally written April 4, 2012.

Death.

 

Again, a different text arrived at the same conclusion. The lady knight set the volume aside, and picked up a scroll a magi clerk brought in from the Theramore library. Several moments passed as she read it line-by-line, the author elaborating on cultist interrogation, corruption, findings. The concluding paragraph again shared the same conclusion.

 

Death.

 

Feeling the urge to move, Arialynn stood from the table and paced the room. Her muscles ached from the previous day's training and from sitting inert for so long. The walking motion assuaged them, but did little to quell the churning thoughts in her own mind.

 

Mosur was missing, Xodius imparted his belief that the Draenei was still affected by the Old Gods. It was too soon for the lady knight to make her own assumptions, but the Flame Warden's theory carried credence. Mosur was not the abandoning type, despite his reserved personality. But his secretive nature played the perfect victim to Old God whispers, and the Dragonblight Campaign months ago found the Draenei largely absent except at the most tumultuous battles.

 

Arialynn could not guess at the strength or nature of the continued whispers in Mosur's mind, or whether the Templar was far too gone to save. All initial signs pointed to yes, pointed to death as the only avenue, the sole resolution.

 

She paced.

 

Veralia was infected. The Choir was host to a corrupted druid that sought to infect and feast on the dreams of its own kind. The lady knight was aware of the importance of the Dream versus the Waking World to the druids, but its intricacies eluded her. Physically, Veralia was well aside from clear signs of sleep deprivation. Mentally, it was difficult to gauge the curse's toll. The corrupted druid claimed that if he died, the full breadth of the dream eater curse would pass to Veralia. He claimed the affliction could not be cured – if it could, he himself would have sought the remedy. All signs pointed again to death as the final verdict.

 

Death for Mordenoc the Dream Eater, and the subsequent death of Veralia the innocent.

 

Arialynn paced, then departed the war room altogether. As she passed the armory, a hand retrieved a weapon without pausing her foot steps. The hilt's grip in her hand was familiar enough that she did not need to glance to confirm the weapon's make and type. The lady knight knew the grip and weight of a battlehammer in her hand.

 

Outside, the training grounds were largely unoccupied, the cobblestones baked beneath the warm afternoon sun. Arialynn closed the distance between herself and a wooden training dummy and without introduction, struck it harshly with a blow from her hammer.

 

The wood cracked and the dummy sagged, it bowed to one side as if lowering itself in defeat.

 

Death.

 

No. It could not be.

 

Setting the hammer aside, Arialynn set herself on the task of removing the shattered wood. Her hands were bare, her gauntlets were left within the keep as was her wont when reading. She ignored each splinter as each sharp edge attempted to dig into her skin. She trusted the calluses of her hands to repel them.

Author Ari
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