What may come to pass, many years down the road. SPOILER: EVERYONE DIES.

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Postby Yva » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:22 am


The felhound moved all right, but not exactly how he wanted it to. It sprawled its legs akimbo so it covered twice as much space as it had before, its spiky tail thudding against the floor as it wagged. Niall poked it in the hindquarters with his cane, sighing wearily.

"I've had a long night, Dog."

There was a snort and a groan as the enormous creature rolled onto its side, tentacles twitching. It lifted one of its hind legs and exposed an expanse of softly furred belly, the tail swishing twice as fast now. A plaintive whine completed the picture of the perfect wheedling canine, but the young man with pitch hair and skin as pale as new fallen snow remained unmoved.

"You don't act like a pissant and then get a rub. It doesn't work like that."

Huffing sounds and the tail went dormant.

"It's your own damned fault, Sir."

Somehow, he managed to get around the petulant creature and into the twisting hallway that led downstairs. He could hear the felhound shufflng along somewhere behind him, clearly deciding that sulking in the doorway wasn't nearly as fun as nosing about The Black Library. Twin stone doors, a foot taller than Niall and nearly as thick too, were sealed shut, the edges engraved with dusky purple glass that would, if you brushed over them, scream in agony. His mother's sigil work had grown adept over the years, but she still hadn't figured out how to shut the wailing up on the soul glass. Flesh on their icy surfaces burned them, or so she claimed, and the best she could do was advise against touching them if he didn't like the shrieking.


As the word left his tongue, the sigils blazed to life and the doors opened themselves, allowing him entrance. His foot crossed the threshold and the torches along the walls blazed to life. Even though the library itself was beneath the ground, there was no damp, mildewy smell here. The air was crisp and cool and dry - perfect conditions for his tomes. Some of them were as old as the sundering, kept in tact by magic and magic alone. He'd not put them in harm's way by being irresponsible with the climate.

There was a small pile of books next to the chair by the fireplace, a true tell sign that his father had been here recently, and he scanned the titles, smirking a little at the choices.

"Father," he said, running his finger along the leatherbound spine. "Is back to his history, Dog. Let's act surprised, shall we?"

He craned his neck to grin at the lumbering beast snuffing at his shelves. Every once in a while its tentacle would touch a book, and a small shower of sparks would rain onto the floor. The hound grunted again before making its way over to the fire, spinning in a circle three times, pawing at the rug like it was nesting, and then collapsing into a lazy heap.

"You know." Niall leaned the silver tipped cane against the wall, returning his father's abandoned books to their proper homes on the shelves. One of them belonged in the top row, and as he climbed the wall ladder, he got a good peek at the layer of dust that had formed along the edge. He frowned at it, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket so he could dust. "I don't believe the old dog bit. Not for one moment. Nether creatures don't age."

The felhound groaned in response.

"And . . . you're intelligent creatures. Quite, actually, more so than most people. So I suppose that means you're faking it. For whose benefit? Mum's?"

The tentacles swayed in his direction, but Flaadhun was mutinously unresponsive otherwise.

"You utter /shit/." There was a grin in Niall's voice, and he shook his head, rubbing at his nose with his sleeve to stop the barrage of sneezes threatening to splinter his sinuses apart. There was quite a bit more dust than he'd anticipated, and a single swath of mageweave wasn't going to remedy that. He'd need a featherduster and polish.

He teetered down the latter and onto the floor. "So for what, twenty . . . something years, you've played the part of the oversized puppy. What an awful ruse, taking advantage of my mother that way. I should tell her." He paused and eyed the door, his lips pursing into a thin line. "Of course, Father might throw you through a wall for it. Aren't you allowed to sleep at the foot of the bed?"

The threat of an angry Jakob Balthasar elicited a response; the enormous daemon sighed and stood, waddling over with its snout whisking over the marble floor tiles. It peered up at Niall and then gently headbutted him in the leg, a pathetic moan warbling in it scaly throat.

"Oh stop it."

There was another, harder headbutt, enough to send Niall stuttering backwards. He reached for his cane to steady himself, and quickly brought it around, his wrist twisting, forcing the metal cane tip into Flaadhun's well padded flanks. The felhound skittered away, far faster than any of his previous movements, which meant he'd been forcing the labored old dog movements too.

The realization made the boy laugh.

"All right, all right. Stop tantruming. I'll keep it to myself. But I'm onto you, Dog."

Flaadhun flopped onto his side, and then his back, sticking his clawed paws straight into the air. He wriggled about like a worm, tail once again thunking.

"Dear gods, have some pride, Man."

The word was faint, but it was clear, and it seemed to telegraph itself right into his mind.

So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I'll lay your soul to waste.

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Re: Niall.

Postby Yva » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:55 pm

I've had a thousand names, and will have a thousand more, but for now I am Flaadhun, Oblivion's Hound and servant of the cold mistress. When I was born - if you can say anything nether spawned is born (malignancies all of us, given shape in much the same way dreams are given shape - of ether, whimsy, and the strange combination of possibility and improbability) - I was bound to the scaly god in his purge of the great city of Azshara. "Feast upon their magic," He said, and I did. "Show them your malice" He said, and I did that as well. But then the sundering happened and my function was lost as our cause was thwarted from the inside. I found myself adrift in the emptiness of the abyss, waiting for a new master.

The old one summoned me first, drew me forward by my true name, one no mortal tongue could say. I was shackled and imprisoned, I was told to kneel and bend. I was forced to a will greater than my own, and I knew rage. When the old master grew weak with sickness some years later, when his mind began to lose the iron that had held me tethered for so long, I ate his fingers and toes, and feasted upon his heart. His skin was my mantle, and I wore it with pride, his blood running rivers down my flanks. I reveled in the flavor of his defeat, I savored his weakness as it dripped from my fangs to the floor beneath me.

He was master no more.

Others came thereafter, much the same as the first - commanding, ordering, punishing. For millenia it was the way. They would break what was not theirs to break, but in the end, I was victorious, for I am near eternal, and they are not. I learned patience and I learned cunning. I learned the gift that was my form, allowing them to assume an ignorance that was not there. I did not speak because I did not choose to, but I knew their languages as I knew the power lust that boiled inside of them. It proved the undoing of all of them, to a man.

Over the years, the ties that held me grew stronger as men learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, but so too did my resilience to such things. Each summon was slightly more difficult than the last, each master had to wrestle that much more to keep me in their stables. Their cruelties increased with their frustrations - I was not an easy thing to maintain. I struggled against capture, I balked at the abuses heaped upon me. It was the latter that foretold their dark ends.

When an age had passed, maybe more, I was beyond the grasp of even great warlocks. I remained inside of the dark realm, waiting, watching, but never bound. I could see things torn from their rightful place all around me, but my name had gone lost some time ago - something of my own doing - and I was safe. Safety, though, comes with a new problem - boredom, and I nearly found myself craving the angry hands and punishing magics that allowed me to roam the outside world.

Boredom was why I chose her, in the end.

She was and is unlike any of the others. Most nethermancers draw their circles and call forth a name, demanding veneration in their 'pets', wanting obsequious parasites to grant power at their command, but she etched upon her circle new runes, ones of invitation instead of demand. And where a name was supposed to be, where the slavery was supposed to begin, the cold one had put another word, one I had never seen before.

It was "Please."

Other daemons were intrigued, lessers who grokked how odd her summoning was but couldn't really appreciate it not having had enough time with the horrid masters to know. On a whim, I decided to follow the invitation, to thrust the novice stalkers away and stake a claim to her circle. She was the first interesting thing to stumble across my path in years.

I was disappointed to find the girl so frail. She lay upon the floor, shadows swathing her body, little hiccups and moans escaping her lips. I reached out to taste her, to know her as only my kind can know someone, and found her mind at the precipice, ready to descend into madness. The craze was delicious in its own way, and my tentacles twitched as I sipped at it, tasting her ecstasy and claiming it for my own. There were slashes upon her arms, dark ragged tracks in her skin from wrist to elbow, and I realized she'd used her own blood to ink the sigils of her circle. It was unfathomable how much she gave to this summoning without a guarantee of success. She'd laid offering to one of us and never once uttered a demand - the very essence of her life was there for the first creature willing to follow her trail of breadcrumbs. It was reckless and somewhat foolish, but there was something sublime about the decadence of it, too.

Seeing me for the first time, she rolled onto her stomach and crawled acros the floor, her smile bright and inviting, her eyes flickering all over me like I was a fine piece of sculpture. She lifted a blood crusted hand to my head and ran it over my skin. There was no fear, only joy at my arrival. I immediately thought her unworthy, found this a softness I did not care for. I would have eaten her eyes for my troubles, but then she placed her other hand on my head and channeled the strength of her shadows into me, crooning a song I have heard her sing so many times since. The rush was ecstatic. That small, breakable body was pregnant with dark magic. She wrapped her arms around me, almost like I was something to be loved, resting her chin upon my shoulder and sharing with me the power that flooded her body. I was so stunned I did not know what to do, to move away or to stay . . .

And so instead I fed until I had gorged myself on her offerings.

Lazy, lulled by her power, I allowed myself to sink down and rest. It wasn't until much later that I stirred again. I peered at her then, when the haze of the ritual was gone. She sat nude, cross legged, with a pile of bandages in her lap, quietly wrapping them around her tattered forearms. She looked tired, but it was understandable. The cinders of her circle had long since gone to ash, but the stench of brimstone and sweat still lingered upon the air.

"You may stay if you wish."

That was all she said of it.

I still did not know what to make of her, and knew even less when she brought me a plate of food at dinner time like I was just some guest at her table. It occurred to me that I should go, that this was not the way warlocks and their minions should behave - there was something unseemly about the friendliness and familiarity of it - but as the first day became the second, and the second became the third, and the fourth day brought another round of magical offerings, I found myself less and less inclined to leave. Two months later, though still somewhat wary of the strange dead woman with the lovely singing voice, I found myself growing complacent. The strange part was, I liked it.

And so it was I that brought the collar to her, one that would be found on any household pet's neck. I did not want to be her puppy, or dumbed down so terribly that she did not recognize the power I wielded, but she would be a good mistress, I was convinced, and if she wasn't, I was strong enough to break her and walk away if need be. And though I could have spoken the words to her, I did not want to. I had learned long ago from other masters the cost of revealing your hand too early. My words, my voice, were a power. The overture of the collar had to communicate my desire, as I refused to in her way.

She knelt before me, turning the gift over in her hand before laying it upon the floor at my feet.

"You're positive about this?"

I nuzzled her cheek to assure her.

And so we were bound.

The other nether creatures say I have grown weak under her ministrations, but they have not experienced the horrors of my last masters, nor do they understand the amount of freedom I am given within the confines of our arrangement. This lackadaisical approach to warlocking is eccentric, but I have grown to enjoy it. I am given the liberty of sitting back, of watching and waiting and sometimes, of protecting. When I am not at her side, I wander where I will, and this has given me a rare view of the workings of a demonic menagerie. When one is enslaved, one is rarely allowed beyond the perimeters of battle, but she has opened her home to me, made me part of her family, and now I see my kind for what they are with their summoners. Her voidwalker foolishly schemes with his pimp. Her felguard watches her for the same overlord and has become the worst kind of voyeur. The whore looks for ways to tear her from the man she loves simply to see if she can accomplish it.

All of them are idiots, for when the time comes and she thrusts them away, it will be me who devours them in her name. They think me complacent? Perhaps they will think it as I render them to oblivion.

Yes, boredom brought me into the Ice Witch's fold, but freedom has bought my loyalty, to her and her kin.
So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I'll lay your soul to waste.

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Niall & Naiara.

Postby Yva » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:38 pm

There was a thud as the boots hit the floor behind him. He was in the sixth row, hidden behind books stacked nearly to the ceiling, and yet someone had managed to ferret out his location with little preamble. To make matters worse, that royal piss of a felhound warming the doorway couldn't be bothered to warn him.

"Oi. Niall. I need somethin'."

Recognizing the questionably dulcet tones of Naiara Bittertongue, Niall flipped his head back to look up at the ceiling, allowing a long, ragged sigh to escape. "Oh. It's you." He couldn't have telegraphed his annoyance any clearer if he'd had one of those gobbo sound amplifiers to boom it through the chamber.

"Don't sound so fekkin' thrilled about it. Ya might burst somethin'."

"Nothing overly important, I assure you. Maybe just my brain as the aneurysm strikes." Niall turned and peered at her beneath the dark arches of his brows. She was about her mother's height, with a riot of dark wavy hair that spilled past her shoulders and flowed over her back. Her green eyes seemed to gleam, almost like she had a secret she couldn't wait to tell, and her lips held a perpetually wry twist. "And to what do I owe this Most Welcome Interruption."

Naiara's grin ate up half of her face, exposing two rows of perfect, glinting teeth. "Need a book."

"Help yourself. There's at least ten thousand here. Might I recommend 'Common Courtesies of the Stormwind Dynasties'." He hobbled down the aisle towards her, his polished onyx cane clicking on the floor tiles as he moved. "Or perhaps 'Speaking Like A Tavern Wench' by the esteemed Scary Mary of Goldshire proper."

"My aunt's taught me all the tavern wenching I ever need to know." Naiara scurried ahead of him to perch on a stack of books, extending a long leg across so he couldn't pass. "There's pride in proper wenching, you know. Plus you get to wear fun clothes. You seen Aunt Annie's wardrobe?"

"I'm sure somewhere in that muddled brain of yours that makes complete and utter sense. And no, I haven't. I tend not to notice things I find completely inane. Like women's dress. Though . . . " He gave her a blatant perusal from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. His mouth slid into a smirk. "Perhaps I'd notice it if you actually bothered to attempt looking female? Have you heard of a skirt? They're like pants, you see, but with one big leg hole at the bottom in lieu of two."

"You're a crabby arsehole, Balthasar." She pulled a book from the shelf behind her, running her finger along the gilt letters of the spine. "Now then, about me book."

"'My' book."

"That's what I said."

"No it's no . . . I am not arguing this with you." He tried to thwack at her with his cane, but she moved too fast, the left leg dropping so the right one could take its place, still blocking his retreat. He gave her his dirtiest scowl, which just managed to set the wenchling grinning even wider. "Move please? Or are we going to play games all day? I tend not to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent."

"Not movin' 'til I get my book."

"Will wonder's never cease. You actually said it properly."

"Proper's boring," she said. "Anyway, Mum said I should bug you with this. An' trust me - you don't want to piss off me mum."

He stood up straighter, suddenly looking every bit like a wiry, even more arrogant version of Jakob Balthasar. "That doesn't mean I'm simply going to hand over one of MY mother's tomes without permission, you realize."

With a sigh, Naiara slid the book in her hand onto the stack in front of her. Niall frowned at it, then pointedly looked at the vacant slot on the shelf behind her. She followed his gaze, but did nothing. He began to tap his cane on the floor, rhythmically, a little faster as time passed. Their eyes locked. He twitched, she giggled. When he leaned forward to grab the book and put it back onto the shelf himself, she grabbed for it and jerked it just out of his reach, shaking it back and forth. "Ya want this? Just gotta say you're gonna help me."

"You little . . . ugh. Fine. I will help IF you put the damned thing back where it belongs."

Her eyes swept up to his temple. "You got a vein pulsin' right here, mate. Think that aneurysm's comin' on."


"Oi! I'm right here, you tosser!" The giggles became belly laughter as she did indeed return the book to its rightful place. She'd momentarily toyed with the idea of putting it in upside down and backwards, but she was fairly sure Niall would spontaneously combust if she did, and she couldn't let that happen before she got what she'd come for.

Niall gave her a long look, his fingers swiping imaginary lint off of the cuff of his robe. "Now then. I should warn you, I really shouldn't lend out my mother's books without her permission, so you'll have to do your reading here."

"Don't be such a pansy."

"A pan . . . have you seen my mother in a temper?"

A dagger appeared in Naiara's hand seemingly out of nowhere, its blade glinting silver in the dim lantern light. She ran the tip under her fingernails to clean them out. "Nah, but Da says she's nuttier than a squirrel house, an' I heard stories."

"I will not confirm or deny any of that, but I will say I'm not going to risk her wrath." He leaned against one of the book shelves, crossing his arms over his chest. "So what is it that you need so badly as to interrupt my work?"

"Book on the northern travelers."

He arched a brow, now quite interested in whatever it was she wanted. He'd expected something girly and dumb, but a history book steeped in rich magical practices? Well, he couldn't quite hide his surprise. "The gypsy people? An odd request."

"I'm an odd lass, and aye. Arathi travellers. Think you can help me out?"

He pursed his lips thoughtfully and nodded, motioning ahead of him with his cane. "Third aisle. A lot of my mother's books focus on arcanery, you realize, so it might be something along the lines of hearth witchery - auguries, herbal compendiums and the like."

"Perfect." She dropped her leg and followed him through the maze of shelves into the back of the room. His finger traced over the titles. Near the bottom right, he pulled out a half dozen or so tomes, blowing the dust off of the tops of the pages.

He handed them to her in a neat stack. "I didn't realize YOU had any kind of interest in such material."

"And I didn't realize you weren't a poofter. Oh wait, still don't know that for sure."

Niall watched her retreating back as she made her way to the table out front, not hiding his smile quite as well as he'd meant to. "Let's test the theory, shall we? Next time you're visiting why don't you bring an actual female with you?"

"Go fek yourself, Balthasar."
So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I'll lay your soul to waste.

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