Friday, October 1, 2010

Invasion of the In-laws

They stood before the manor while the first touches of sunlight bled over the horizon.  Most of their traveling had been done at night.  Folks in the Eastern Kingdoms still tended to be wary about Undead near their homes, and Abigora didn't want to have to put her best friend's parents in shackles just for show.  Besides, the Captain probably wouldn't take too well to that, and the last thing she needed was a faction skirmish.

Abi took the moment to study the structure in front of her.  She had been calling it home for the last several years, after being taken in by her oath sister, but hadn't seen much of its exterior.  It really was a sprawling house, meant to accommodate more than just one family.  A large, iron gate stood open and a pathway ran from there, up a few stone steps to the front of the wooden abode.  The narrow, peaked windows cast an almost religious air to the architecture, but the dark purple paint said it was anything but a cathedral.  The lawn was shaggy and unkempt, with several gnarled trees spread haphazardly around the property.  In the back, a graveyard held several generations of former occupants. 

Fulguralis had purchased the manor shortly after getting married.  They had outgrown their previous quarters, and this menacing structure had been wallowing, unsold for several years.  Apparently it's owners had been staunch supporters of Arthas, and the place was said to be haunted by their former spirits after he betrayed them.   They had yet to find any ghosts.  All in all, it was a rather picturesque house for a Warlock, yet the touches of a Paladin were not unnoticed.  Around back a stable held a multitude animals, and there was a sparring yard with several wooden training dummies that could just be glimpsed from the front.

Strangely, there also seemed to be a spot where the grass had been trampled, as if by a tent.  Who would camp in the yard before the manor though?  They always had open rooms.  In addition, there were several scraps of clothing lying discarded around the area, as if someone, in a fit of fashion passion, had ripped a shirt to shreds.  It was odd, so Abi filed it away for later investigation.  She had enough on her hands right now.

"Oh what an... interesting house!" Minerva exclaimed happily, hopping off her mount and striding up to the gate.  She eyed some of the overgrown shrubbery with a scowl.  "It could use some T-L-C, but nothing a mother's love can't fix!"

"Hmpf," the Captain snorted.  "I thought it'd be bigger."

"I believe it's normally in much better repair," Abigora stated.  "However, habitation has been sporadic as of late, what with the fighting and all."

"Of course, dear," Minnie said.   "A few nice curtains will spruce this place right up."

"Here we go with the curtains again," the Captain said under his breath with an roll of his eyes.  Abigora was afraid the gesture might cause one to fall out.

"What was that, honey?" Minnie asked.

"I said: let's see this Warlock," Captain Brightrune commanded.

"Well," Minnie said, casting a baffling look at her husband, "I don't see how a door lock will help things.  I'm sure they have one of those already.  Really, Melvin."

The Captain scowled.  "Warrrrrlock, honey.  Our daughter's... husband."

"Yes, yes.  I'm sure our daughter has a dust bin." Minnie said, waving a hand and sauntering away.

Brightrune sighed, then gestured for Abigora to lead the way up to the manor.  Abi obliged, sending her mount around to the stable in back.  The stone steps led her up to the large, oaken double-doors.  She grabbed the iron knocker, letting it swing down one with a resounding clack.  Knocking was unnecessary, but Abi felt the urge to warn anyone inside of the impending invasion.  There was no answer.

Abi swung the door open and stepped inside.  It wasn't nearly as dusty as she'd expected.  In fact, it seemed like someone had been here recently.  Perhaps Decedereful had returned, looking for her?  If so, the poor girl was a bit late.  After all, Abi had decided to bring in the big guns.  Still, the extra information wouldn't hurt.  Warlocks never were the quickest to trust.

A large sitting room stood before them, old furniture that went mostly unused even when they were all in residence.  The spent most of their time in the kitchen and dining alcove that lay off to the right through a set of large, perpetually open doors.  A curving stair wound up from the first floor to second on the far side of the sitting room, creating a balcony that overlooked the entryway.  Nestled in the curve of the stairway was a wooden bar with stools.  A large, horned skull, ostensibly demonic, was mounted on the wall behind the counter. 

There were several windows along the wall, without curtains, and the faint light they let in was all that brightened the room at the moment.  The sconces on the walls were unlit, and a large chandelier hung overhead.  Abi couldn't recall ever seeing the chandelier lit up.  They normally came in and out through the back door that led to the stable through the kitchen, so there wasn't ever much of a reason to light the main entry.

The Brightrunes shuffled in behind her, dead eyes sweeping the interior.  Minerva immediately focused on the windows, wandering over to them and fluffing up the furniture as she sized the room up.  The Captain frowned and marched straight to the bar.  Abi quickly checked to see if any note was left on the kitchen table, then returned to the sitting room.  She walked over to the bar and pulled up a stool.

The Captain rummaged around behind the bar, pulling out random bottles and holding them up in the pale light.  He was obviously looking for something specific.  Minerva had found a broom from somewhere and was sweeping the hardwood floors.  Brightrune eyed his wife, then disappeared behind the counter.  Abi could hear him clanking bottles together as he reached deeply into the stores.  He re-emerged with a triumphant grin and a quite dusty bottle.

"Gold mine," he said, cradling the bottle almost reverently.

"Eh?" Minnie grunted from across the room.

"Nothing, dear," the Captain said.

His wife eyed him suspiciously.  Then, she turned to Abigora and smiled.  "Abi, could you be a peach and go find me a mop, and some fadeleaf please?"

"Fadeleaf?" Abigora asked.

"Yep, it'll get these bloodstains right out of the floorboards," Minnie explained.

Abi stood up and disappeared into the kitchen, returning almost immediately with the items.

"Thank you, dear!" Minnie said with a smile.  "Now, Melvin, go and fetch me a glass of water from the well out back.  I know I saw a well out back."

"What do you need that for?" the Captain groaned.  He had just been pouring himself a glass of dark liquid from the dusty bottle.

"No, honey, not a wild boar," Minnie said.  "Just a glass of water."

Grumbling to himself, the Captain marched out the front door.  Abigora sat back down at the bar after handing her items off.   Minerva leaned the mop against one of the chairs and then made a couple simple gestures in the air.  A bucket of water appeared at her feet.  She crushed the fadeleaf between her hands and dropped the pieces into the water.  Finally, she waved a hand at the mop, which floated up in the air, dipped itself in the water, and began dancing on the floor.   Nodding at the enchanted mop, Minerva walked over to a seat and patted the one next to her, looking meaningfully at Abigora.  Abi walked over and joined her. 

"There isn't a well out back," Abigora stated.

Minnie patted the Night Elf's hand, "I know, dear, but looking for it will keep Melvin busy for a while."

She waved her hands again and a pot of steaming tea appeared on a table beside them with two cups.  The pot rose up in the air, and poured its steaming contents into each cup.  Minerva took one cup for herself, and then handed the other to Abigora.

"Now, dear, tell me about this Warlock."

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