Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gathering Dust

Six empty chairs sat vacant around the wooden table in the manor. Decedereful stood in the doorway peering into the darkness. It was obvious no one was home. The thin layer of dust on all of the surfaces spoke volumes.  The Death Knight didn't know what she had expected.  She knew her brother and his wife were out in Icecrown, struggling to break through the last lines of the Lich King's defense.

Strangely, the closer they got to destroying Arthas, the less Decedereful seemed to think of the man who had imprisoned her in her current state.  For the longest time, the foremost thought on her mind had been revenge.  It had been her sustainable.

Finding her brother, becoming part of his family again, it was slowly changing her.  A part of her she had thought forever lost was winking back into existence.  It was easier to see how she was used, but also how little hope she'd had of freeing herself in the first place.  She was one of many Death Knights, and not all were as lucky as she to be free of Arthas's will.  The closer her brother got to breaking Icecrown, the lighter its touch on the world became. 

And really, what would killing Arthas accomplish?  He was nearly as much of a victim in this as she was, his mind twisted and controlled by powers he'd been unprepared to deal with.  The crown prince had never seen the noose as it was tied around his neck.  A certain part of Decedereful felt sorry for him.  Still, that part was very small.  Decedereful had grasped at the idea of forgiveness for even the most heinous of sins, but forgiving and forgetting were two different things entirely.  She would never forget the reign of the Lich King.  The Death Knights were living proof that even when you found yourself overpowered and in a bad situation, you should never stop struggling to free yourself.   Arthas had most certainly abandoned his human side long ago, and that was the truly unforgivable aspect.  That was what made him irredeemable.

"We going to go in, or just stand here?" the young soldier said from behind Decedereful, startling her out of her musings.  

Decedereful swung around to glare at the pleasant looking man behind her.  His black hair was ruffled and a couple day growth of stubble grizzled his slightly scarred face.  The marring lent more of a ruggedness to his features than anything, though Decedereful tried not to allow herself to let her eyes dwell.  His baby blues were alert, though she swore he had not slept in his tent last night.  She'd heard a lot of thrashing around, as if a rabid felhound had gotten in.   Who was she to judge though?  Maybe he'd had a particular horrid nightmare.  She didn't even need to go to sleep to find those.

"Well, Mr. Wow, does it look like anyone's home?" Decedereful asked with more edge than intended, stepping out of the way and swinging an arm to indicate the emptiness back inside.

Where was that bookworm, Abigora?  She never went anywhere.  She was probably holed up in some library somewhere having a bookgasm.  Decedereful never really understood books.  Why read a book when you could have a mage conjure the scene for you just as easily.  And there were always GobsNotes.

"Has anything jogged your memory yet?" Mr. I'm-Perfectly-Muscled-So-I-Use-Any-Excuse-To-Go-Shirtless asked.  You should have seen him when he got out of the tent in the morning!  Wearing nothing but tattered rags like he was so innocent and had no idea what he was doing.  He was not going to get her in bed.  Again.  The first time didn't count.  She'd been stoned.  Literally.  The flaming rock had fallen from the sky.  What was a girl to do?

Decedereful frowned, "You're just full of questions now, aren't you?"

Mr. Wow just looked back at her innocently with his arms spread.  He was playing the victim.  Ugh!  She hated when guys did that.  Like when those stray cats in Stormwind came up, rubbing you on the leg and begging for food.  Kitty eyes were not going to work on here, blast it.

There was an awkward pause.

"Well, we may as well stop here for tonight," Decedereful finally allowed, breaking the stretching silence.

A look of panic crossed Mr. Wow's face for just a moment before he repressed it and responded, "I'll just pitch my tent around back, if you don't mind."  He folded one arm beneath him in a mock bow at Decedereful's raised eyebrow.  "I wouldn't want to impose on a lady's honor any more than I already have," he answered.

Well, Decedereful wasn't about to argue.  Sure it was silly.  They had plenty of free rooms in the manor.  But Light be damned if she was going to try to convince some scruffy looking... gnoll-herder... to come inside!

"See you in the morning then," Decedereful replied quickly, slamming the door in his face.  She turned around and leaned against it, catching her breath.  Why was she winded?  She didn't even need to breath to live. 

A feeling of mild regret passed through her as she regained control of herself.  She hadn't really meant to be rude to the young man - honestly she hadn't - but she wasn't going to be some fool NElf of a girl either, pining after the moon and the stars and crap like that.  No, sleeping indoors, alone, was just fine by her.  Maybe rummaging through her room would remind her what she was doing as well.

Decedereful stripped out of her armor, tossing it into a heap in the corner.  It made a clanking sound loud enough to wake the dead.  Luckily, she was the only one in the room.  As the pieces came to a rest, a small locket slid out of one of the bags she'd tossed over there and spilled out onto the floor.  Decedereful paid no attention to it as she strode towards the washroom.  A hot bath after a journey would feel so nice.

As she started to gather what she would need for the bath, the loud howl of a wolf pierced the night.  For some reason, it sent a shiver down Decedereful's spine.  It sounded almost... human.  She shook off the thought.  Yes, a relaxing bath was exactly what she needed to take the edge off of her unsettling journey, or her mind was going to run roughshod on her all night.

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