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The following proceeds WoW – Twilight (Idella), and took place some months ago. The following is based on an in-game roleplay between Idella and Ryo, transcribed and written from her point of view. ))

 

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For years, she had dreamed of walking the Nether. The space between worlds, between the Light and Void, to walk the Twisting Nether was to be the flea on a tightrope. An acrobat, however graceful they may be, can only traverse back and forth across the rope’s narrow plane. But a flea — a flea could simply leap into the abandon and see where its feet land. After a lifetime of being the acrobat, trying so hard to leap so high, tonight she was the flea.

 

Holding her breath, Idella stepped into the rip of space time her magic created… and just like that, her leap from the rope was complete. She stood between worlds.

 

Despite a lifetime’s worth of dreams of this moment, Idella wasted no time taking in the sights. Around her, swirls of Light and Void magic circled in a silent dance, forming near-perfect helixes, the opposing magicks refusing to meet in their vacant centers. Distant stars pricked the dark that peaked through the tendrils of Void and Light. Shattered remains of worlds orbited no star, bare chunks rock with no grass, tree, or hint of what haven it once was. Her ears took in a smothering silence, one so complete the pounding of her own heart deafened her ears. It took her several moments to realize she still held her breath. Gasping, slowly she learned to trust the magic that preserved her, kept her fragile body from succumbing to the Nether’s harrowing conditions. There was no air, no warmth to caress the face, only the cold space of the in-between.

 

Clutching a fistful of robe over her chest, she concentrated. Claret spoke true, Ryo’s soul was not far. Like the demons they consumed, Illidari met the same fate at death: To aimlessly wander the Nether till called again into service. Her old teacher sent her close to where Ryo’s soul now wandered. Stepping forward, she found movement relatively simple: She could propel herself by foot or simply concentrate and float to where she wished to go. Oh, what a feeling. If she were not so pressed for time, she could…

 

Tick tock, Claret’s voice said to her. It was if the woman could read her mind. Well, of course Claret could — now, at least. Up till now, well. Idella always felt Claret found her former student a bit predictable. Was that how she still fell into her hands, years later, after so much running? Everything she did was predictable, already plotted out? Had everything she had done simply been a check mark off Claret’s list?

 

Not now. No, keep the mind focused. Focus the mind… and find Ryo. Need to get him out of here.

 

He stood on a fragmented rock, almost unrecognizable at first from his shuffling gait. Idella always knew him to walk with a purpose. Drawing down to the rock’s surface, she called out to him and waved her arms. She was surprised to hear her voice carried at all.

 

“Ryo!” she called, waving at him. “Ryo! Ryo, can you hear me?”

 

His head turned towards her. An arm clutched across his waist. Even at this distance, Idella could see the gash across his chest, the wound that no doubt killed him. The sight of it caught her breath in her throat. Luckily, Ryo seemed to have heard her, or at least was piqued enough to shuffle in her direction. Doubling over, her panted as if trying to catch his breath, but no sweat slicked his brow. This puzzled her. No soul needed breath, exertion or not. Even in death, Idella realized, the soul could not forget the limitations its body had while living.

 

“Ryo, I’m can’t believe I found you…” she began, struggling to find words.

 

“Ida…” he murmured, still catching his breath, or going through the motions thereof.

 

A wave of relief washed over her. He still knew who she was. In a brief but bizarre moment, she became acutely aware of her current appearance. The curls of her hair were tangled, mussed beyond any hairdresser’s hope. Her skin was paler than ever and sweat moistening her forehead, plastering a mess of curls across her face. A blush threatened to shade her cheeks at the wreck she realized she was, but the blush was stayed when Ryo mustered a smile.

 

“I… I died… I’m dead,” he told her. His words sounded as if he couldn’t quite believe it, himself.

 

“You’re…” Idella felt the pit of her stomach drop. The scar across his chest kept drawing her gaze. She stepped forward, a hand gingerly raising to touch it. It took much effort to rip her eyes away, to look up at his face. Blinking, she felt hot tears forming. “You are,” she told him. “It’s been… it’s been days. Maybe a few weeks.”

 

In spite her efforts, again her eyes dwelled to the wound of his chest. “Oh, gods,” she whispered.

 

Ryo blinked rapidly in confusion, apparently not grasping at her words.

 

“Oh, gods,” she bemoaned, her hand clutching at his wound. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I wasn’t there. I should have been there!” Tears spilling from her eyes, her words choked into sobs.

 

Ryo’s hand found its way to her shoulder, his palm covering it from collarbone nearly to bicep — however much bicep she had. She had always had a small frame, even for a human. She shuddered at the touch. It felt real. Warm. But he was only a figment, right? Or perhaps the magic that let her walk this plane also let her interact with his?

 

“What happens, happened,” he told her reassuringly. Three words, yet they brought comfort. Grief and relief dueled one another across her face, but her eyes no longer formed new tears.

 

“Did it… did it hurt?” She asked, eyes on his chest again.

 

“Yeah,” he answered honestly. “Lives saved… worth it.”

 

This made her smile, though only a little. With a blink, the last of her tears streamed down her cheeks. “I… I needed to see you. I needed to help set things right.”

 

Ryo smiled. “Good to see you, too. Risky though.”

 

With this, Idella felt a cold touch on her back. She suppressed a shiver, but couldn’t catch the reflexive look she gave over her shoulder. Ryo’s eyes followed hers. “I can’t stay long,” she told him.

 

Ryo growled, quick to draw a conclusion. “Claret.” His eyes flickered behind her, narrowing. “Ida… how are you here?” The growl in his voice remained, but now it was edged with worry.

 

“I’m…” Idella trailed off. She had rehearsed this part endlessly, but now standing where the lines needed delivered, she forgot them all. Instead, she took his hands in hers, hers so minuscule compared to his. His hands took hers, though they were large enough to also reach part of her forearm. “You can come back,” she said, looking into his eyes. “When you are ready, you can come back. I made sure of it.”

 

“How?” Ryo asked slowly. She could see him already figuring it out. He was much like his father.

 

“We gathered enough of your soul. I completed it. I got the rest of it — well, except this part. You right here. But it will work. And your father can resurrect your body.”

 

Ryo nodded slowly, a distinct lack of celebration to his face. His eyes kept darting over Idella’s shoulder.

 

“The others… the others will eventually figure it out. I left enough of a trail. And they want you back. They want to make things right again.”

 

“‘Make right’?” Ryo raised an eyebrow then quickly glanced over Idella’s shoulder again.

 

Idella kept her eyes on Ryo. “Everything happened so fast. You went ahead with your plan. I… I got scared and… and left. If I had stayed, maybe you wouldn’t… maybe I would…”

 

“Ida,” Ryo interrupted her. “Cost… at what cost?”

 

This was the first time she heard his voice tear up. Idella quickly put on a smile, summoning what willpower she could to be cheerful. “She’s going to Argus,” she told him. “I’m going with her. …in a way.”

 

Ryo’s gaze hardened, looking over Idella’s shoulder again. She felt his hands tighten over hers. “She’s taking you.”

 

Idella squeezed his hands — or more the handful of fingers her small hands could wrap around — attempting to regain his attention. “I was always on borrowed time,” she tried to reassure him. “Zen… your father, changed that for a little while. And you made it even better.”

 

It worked. Ryo looked back at her. Gently, oh so gently, he squeezed her hands back. But his voice raised in anger. “She doesn’t own you!” He snarled.

 

Biting her lip, Idella looked away. “I fell into it, Ryo. I listened to her lessons, I used her spells… even borrowed her power when I got scared,” as the words spilled out, the cheeriness quickly drained away, replaced by rising panic. “Ryo, it’s the contract! I can’t get out of it!” Hysteria nearly swallowed her. Catching her breath, she forced it down. The emotions battled over her face: panic, grief, then finally acceptance.

 

His chest falling and rising, an anger transcending the soul, Ryo’s steely gaze fastened behind Idella again. “I… will… get… you… back,” he growled through gritted teeth.

 

Idella finally looked behind her. There loomed a shadow, dark, shapeless. It said nothing and in spite having no discernible eyes, she felt it watching. Waiting. She bit back a gasp and looked back at Ryo, squeezing his hands again. 

 

“Argus. The Legion,” she told him quickly. “You can make a difference, Ryo. It’s what you’ve been doing all along. She’s… she’s terrible, but she doesn’t want the Legion, either. Please. Keep Azeroth safe. Keep our friends safe.”

 

He looked at her, the snarl on his face relaxing. Slowly, he nodded. “I will find you on Argus. I will slay demons… I will find allies.”

 

She smiled, the expression coming freely this time. She trusted him. Standing on her tip toes, one hand stretching far, far up, she tried to touch his cheek. Noting her struggle, Ryo leaned forward, making the task easier. She gazed intently at him, again forgetting her rehearsed words. Something deep, romantic, poetic, bottled up for months. Instead, she blurted out: “I love you.”

 

Reaching down to her hips, Ryo lifted her to his eye level. “Love you,” he answered back.

 

Blinking, Idella realized he had just spoke those words for the first time. She had little time to dwell on it, because then he pulled her in for a kiss. Looping her arms around his neck, she returned the gesture in kind. Her mind went dizzy and she lost her breath. Briefly, she wondered if Ryo could still lose his. They remained passionately locked together for some time, thoughts racing, the kiss desperate and aware of its potential finality. Between the two of them, Ryo held on the longest and as they parted, Idella spied more than one conflicting thought swirling in his green eyes. Biting her lip, she tried to smile at him. Give reassurance.

 

“I have to go. I’m… I’m sorry. But… Ryo. it’s not your fault. What happened. This… it’s… it was going to happen. You made the last parts of it worth it.” Her hand strayed again to the wound on his chest. As distracted as she was, she didn’t see how the wound had sealed since she arrived, clearly her presence having an effect on it. Her gaze stared beyond it.

 

“Be strong,” he told her. She looked back up and smiled again, a small defense at the renewed threat of tears. Ryo continued. “I’ll break her contract. AND her!” His voice again descended into a growl.

 

Behind them, the shadow waited. It did not reply. 

 

“Ryo, I — ” Idella looked over her shoulder. She could feel Claret tugging her away. Her very soul. It was time. The two met eyes again and smiled at one another.

 

“I have to go,” she told him.

 

“See you soon,” he nodded.

 

Slowly, he set her down on the ground. Slowly, she looked down at their hands and broke them apart. Turning away, Idella walked into the shadow. She didn’t look back. Her figure fading into the shadow, Ryo was left alone. A fist clenched at his side, showing the toll it took to keep himself still and not chase after her. The shadow stared back at him, as if carefully weighing him. Then with a flash, a beam of fel fire arced from its center high into the Nether sky, lancing and lighting it like a flare from a ship.

 

Startled, Ryo cursed. The light quickly garnered attention. Distant shapes of Legion ships appeared in the distance, rapidly closing the gap between them.

 

“You!” Ryo said accusingly at the shadow.

 

Beast,” the shadow spoke with Claret’s voice, its words dripping with disdain.

 

Caught in the shadow of Legion ships, Ryo was pinned. “You… This isn’t over! I will find you… I WILL END YOU!” His voice devolved into growls, tearing it apart, the words barely comprehensible. The Legionnaires make quick work of him, binding him in shackles and boarding him on a ship. Another corrupted soul to serve the Legion’s bidding. A prisoner.

 

The shadow withdrew to a safe distance and watched. Satisfied at his capture, it faded away.

Author Ari
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