Friday, May 21, 2010

Hopping the Pond

A salty mist floated across the deck of the ship, coating Decedereful as yet another weave slammed into the prow of The Lady Mehley.  The Great Sea was more restless than usual, and the unanticipated turbulence was causing delay.  It seemed as if she had spent several weeks on the ship already.  To make matters worse, each day had dawn with the same unbearably bland mix of gray, cloud covered sky and chill air.  It was just enough to leech the warmth from your bones and the gaiety from your heart... if you had any in the first place.  As a Death Knight, Decedereful did not mind the grave-like chill, but the constantly foul mood of deckhands had infected her as well.

"What the fel route did you take, Captain?  Shouldn't we have arrived days ago?" Decedereful hollered over the wind.

Capatain "Stash" Torgoley, a rather hansom man for a sailor with dark slightly graying hair and a large, full mustache, adjusted the saber at his waist.  He had a habit of doing that when he was in a mood, and he certainly did not appreciate an uppity Death Knight questioning the orders on his ship.  After all, crossing the Great Sea was no easy task, and a Captain's word must be followed without question or all their lives could be put in jeopardy.

"Aye.  We should have.  However, unless you do be wishing to Captain this ship, I suggest you make yourself more comfortable below deck.  We should be arriving shortly," Stash scowled. 

Decedereful grumbled and shook her head. 

"Look lass," the Captain continued, "we do be proceeding with all possible haste.  Nearly all the shipping routes have been extended by neccessity.  The Maelstrom be acting up, and you will no want to be anywhere near that particular phenomenon any time soon.  It seems the seas are in a squall as much as the land do be."

Thinking of the random tremors she had felt in Dalaran and the general state of things, Decedereful nodded thoughtfully.  Why should the seas be calm when everything else seemed to have been turned on it's head?  Still, she didn't have to like the delay even if they had good reason.  Besides, the briny air was suffocating.

Decedereful stalked away from the Captain and clumped down the stairs to return below deck.  She found a barrel in the hold, and sat down.  The problem with ships is that there was nothing to do but wait.   She had tried flirting a bit with the crew to relieve boredom, but, to her dismay, many of them still harbored resentment towards Death Knights.  Even pretty ones.  It appeared that despite the edict of their King, all had not been forgiven, especially in a backwoods town like Menethil Harbor.  Though, being so close to the Plaguelands, she supposed their wariness was based more on common sense than any prejudice.

So, she found herself alone in the hold, casting her mind ahead to what would unfold once she arrived at Theramore Isle.  How was she going to get an audience with Jaina Proudmoore?  It wasn't like they just let anyone waltz on up to the top of her tower in Theramore Keep.  Or did they?  At the very least she would probably need to overcome the general suspicion most humans had of her kind before Jaina would even give her the time of day. 

And what would she say to Ms. Jaina?  Even thinking of the woman made Decedereful cringe a bit.  If all the stories were true, she would not only be facing one of the most powerful mages of the Age, but a capricious, blubbering blond at that.  Not a good combination in Dece's book.  The mage part alone was enough for her brother.  For Dece, it was the blond part.

Hopefully the mere mention of Brightrune would jog a memory, something that could lead Decedereful to the next breadcrumb.  She wasn't sure exactly why, but she really felt this was important, that it could have a huge impact on her brother's life.  Her only brother.  The only person that really knew her.  Jaina just had to be able to dig something out of that dumb, blond head of hers.

Decedereful wasn't going to hold her breath.  Well, figuratively speaking anyways.

"Land ho!" the yell came from above.

Decedereful leaped off the seat and ran as if she had been standing in a circle of holy fire.  Up the stairs and onto the deck, scanning the horizon for the cause of the cry.  There, looming out of the mists on the starboard side of the prow, a dock.  The fetid smell of swamp hung heavy in the air, but Dece didn't even wrinkle her nose.  Land, blessed land!  She hadn't even realized how much she had missed it until there it was.  She was leaping from the ship before it had even come to a complete stop at the long, wooden dock.

Large, grimy stone structures poked out at her as she headed for the end of the dock.  Shadowy shapes danced in and out of the fog, lending the usual bustle of the fortress a more mysterious air.  Muffled shouts, partially swallowed by the humidity carried from the shore, dock workers going about their business.  In the distance, the clang of swords on the training fields could be heard.  Yes, it felt good to be off that boat.

As Decedereful approached the end of the dock, she loosed her two blades from their loops at her waist.  Four shadowy shapes stood restlessly at the end of the dock, obviously waiting on the ship to unload.  Two of the shapes were roughly the size of a human, though oddly shaped for it.  The other two shapes were smaller, goblin-like, and one of those small shapes was running circles around the other three. 

Still too far to be seen clearly, Decedereful stopped when the other smaller shape lunged forward toward her.  It was still a several spans from her, giving her plenty of time for the Death Knight to draw her weapons.  She settled into a comfortable stance as the other three shapes hesitantly followed the first.  As the first shadowy form began to materialize, Dece's confusion deepened as the entity seemed to bound at her, more like an animal than any small humanoid.  

Abruptly, at about the length of a Tauren corpse in front of her, the dense fog quit it's concealment and a rather excited Felhunter burst forth as if shot from a cannon.  Decedereful froze for a moment as the hunter flew at her chest, and then was knocked down.  She nearly stabbed the creature, but then felt a familiar wetness on her face.  It was licking her!

"Sparky, get off!" Decedereful wailed, trying to wriggle out from under her brother''s minion.  "Good to see you too!"

When she was finally able to stand up, she saw the motley crew before her: Voidwalker, Succubus, and Imp.  The Imp, Spaz, was still making circle around the other too and chattering in an excited voice.  Berry Blue floated languorously in front of her, an unreadable expression on his face, while Midnight flapped her small wings impatiently at his side, hand on her hip, and a scowl on her face.

"This humidity really screws up my hair," the Succubus whined. 

"I think it's romantic and mysterious," the Voidwalker countered in a deep voice.  "Very intimate."

"Whatever.  Give her the locket and let's go before I break another nail," Midnight returned.

Decedereful unsuccessfully tried to brush the dampness from her clothes.  "What locket?" she asked.

"Thisonehere. This-one.  Get-it-from-Sparky.  Get-it!  Gogogogo!" Spaz spat out, motoring around the Felhunter.

Decedereful sighed at the Imp, then put her hand down by her knees, palm up, and Sparky dutifully deposited the piece of jewelry in it.  Holding it up in the muted light, the Death Knight examined the piece.   There was some writing she couldn't quite make out in the dimness etched into the back and the front appeared to contain an image she was quite familiar with.  It was the same white eagle on red background that she'd seen outside of Nathane's tent back at Refuge Point. 

"Where did you get this?" Decedereful asked.

"The Master sent it to me, then Abigora suggested we bring it to you," Midnight said, pouting a bit.  It was obvious the journey wasn't her idea.

Decedereful wondered idly if there was some sort of magical enchantment on the locket, then hurriedly stuffed it into a pocket.  It represented yet one more reason she needed to see Jaina right away.  If her brother had thought this important enough to send home and Abi had wanted to make sure it reached her, then it probably represented some sort of clue.  Sometimes she wished the priest would just tell her instead of being all cloak and dagger.  It really did not suit her.

"Hello, there.  Are you Decedereful?"

Decedereful spun to find that a young soldier had walked up and inserted himself into their little circle.  He had the look of a courier, and reinforced the image by making a slight bow as her eyes coursed over him.

"And if I am?" she responded cautiously.

"Well, the lady Jaina has learned of your arrival and would very much like to see you.  She offers the hospitality of her tower and keep in exchange for but a few words.  Would you like me to take you to her now?" the young man offered, bowing again.  "Your... minions... will have to remain here, I'm afraid," he noted, distaste slightly curling his lip.

Decedereful waved him off, "Sure, sure.  They're not mine anyways.  Take me to your leader."

The man gave a startled blink, then smoothly motioned for her to follow as he started off towards the distant structures.  Decedereful patted Sparky before leaving her brother's now sulking minions at the dock and hastening along.

Well, that was easy, she thought.

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