Aboard the Sunfish, a small barque late of Pandaria, now at the outskirts of the Stormwind harbor, Aunne was pensive.  Truth be told, it wasn�t a feeling she enjoyed, classifying it with all of those other uncomfortable feelings that she�d uncovered over the last few years as �inconvenient� or �irritating� or just �not really nice, okay?�  Pensive wasn�t fun, like glee.  It was more like melancholy, all bittersweet and cloying and dangerous because it always froze the furniture and killed the grass when she forgot about the fact that the grass was alive and the people around her actually worried about getting cold.

At least she�d learned to stop making inn fires go out. 

Regardless, the death knight was pensive, perhaps even worried � in a few moments, she�d have to go up on the deck with all of the other people returning from Pandaria, and � even this long after the events in Northrend � most of the crowd would give her the “look”.

She really despised the “look”.  The “look” wasn�t really a problem when you were wearing armor and smashing a rampaging Orc or a vicious Mantid.  Oh, no � then, the look was really just �you�re strange�, and she could live� er�. Endure strange.  That was the word, �endure�.  People who fought for a living eventually got past �strange� when they realized she could wrestle an angry Tauren charging the lines or generally stand between them and a fireball or two.  Then, she was just another person doing the job of killing things, and everyone who killed things understood that where you came from mattered a lot less than how good you were at the job.

No, these people on the ship?  They bothered her more.  They were just.. people.  Humans and dwarves and gnomes coming home to be with families, ex-soldiers and travelers.  There was even a poet in the other stateroom.  Normal people.  Average people.  People with children and families and their “look” wasn�t really �you�re strange�, it was �you don�t fit here�. 

Aunne didn�t like this “look”.  It gave her a terrible sinky, queer,  upsetty sort of feeling, and it was worse because if you killed someone who gave you that “look”, everyone else gave you the “look” but worse, and often guards got involved and people screamed and you got yelled at by the people in Acherous and it just wasn�t worth it.

This time, she resolved, it would be different.  She was wearing a dress, for one thing, and had taken the time to actually wash and comb out her ice-white hair, even trying to style it a little.  She even wore a little jewelry, and had practiced all of the things you were supposed to say when meeting new people. �Hello, my what a fine hat that is.�  �Oh, is that your daughter?  She is very well-behaved.�  No killing.  No discussion of blood.  No offering anyone a giant insect for a pet.  No exploding anything.  She had it down, except for the bit about cats, but it would have to do.

Of course, she wasn�t quite ready. 

Aunne concentrated, then � letting go of the ice, letting go of the edges of the raw pain and hate and rage that was always there, just below the surface, and focused on her blood.  She willed it to thaw, to move again; she felt her heart beat and the strange flutter beneath her skin of something moving that she never quite got used to.  The clotted dust in her veins softened, infused with her magic � and then there was Blood. 

Blood, and Hunger.  She felt it, a foreign thing � for a moment, she reveled in the change of sensation, the gnawing need replacing the ice in her center.  She felt then � the sea breeze, the chill still in the air of her cabin, the rocking motion of the boat � she inhaled, drinking it all in. 

After a moment, she crossed to the sea chest she�d had brought on board, and opened it; the blade was on top, waiting, as it always had.

Her soulblade.  The massive two-handed sword shimmered, the runes on its surface flickering as she picked it up, lifting it with an ease and grace utterly at odds with the sheer mass of the weapon.  She held it for a moment, and had to fight down the impulse it whispered to her � upstairs.  So much food.  We could eat well, and who would know?   

�Shh.�  She told the sword. �Later.  We have things to do, and Arialynn would be very, very disappointed.  But I promise, later.� 

Onto her back it went, into a sheath designed to hide the blade and hilt as much as make it easy to carry.  She smoothed her dress, and � with a squaring of shoulders and a deep, unnecessary breath � she turned to the door.



She hadn�t been in the city in years.  First, to the mage�s guild, then to the stables.  Then?  She�d see if they were still there.  They had to be.  Someone had to be.  Someone would know, and she would find them � the Templars.  She still owed them.  They�d see. 

Aunne ran a hand over the hilt of her sword � it almost seemed to purr in her mind.  She smiled, bright and wide and brittle, and walked out into the hold, and from there up, to the deck. 



Author Aunne
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